Jim Calhoun Successor Kevin Ollie Gets Seven-Month Coaching Contract At UConn

The University of Connecticut is not exactly hitching its wagon to Kevin Ollie’s star just yet.

Jim Calhoun, 70, retired yesterday, and Kevin Ollie was named the UConn basketball team’s new head coach. His contract runs for only seven months, however.

Ollie was an assistant coach under Calhoun for two years and never had a head coaching gig. Athletic Director Wade Manuel wants to see how Ollie does running the team before offering him a long-term contract. It’s hardly a minimum wage job, however; Ollie will earn almost $400,000 on a pro-rated contract that ends April 4, 2013. Since UConn is banned from the 2013 NCAA “March Madness” tournament because of various academic performance violations, there may be less immediate pressure on Ollie.

The New York Post‘s Lenn Robbins summarizes the situation involving Kevin Ollie’s short-term tryout:

This is the first big hire of Warde’s UConn tenure. He would have been a fool to handcuff himself to an unproven commodity. So he has rented Ollie for seven months. In a perfect world, the Huskies Express will keep rolling and Manuel will extend Ollie’s deal.

Kevin Ollie apparently is okay with the arrangement, according to the Hartford Courant:

“My first six years in the NBA, I didn’t have a guaranteed contract, so this is easy. … I’d rather something be difficult in the short term than easy in the long term.”

Olllie was a four-year point guard at UConn and played for 12 teams in a 13-year NBA career. He joined the UConn coaching staff after retiring from the NBA in 2010.

Although not everyone was okay with his abrasive personality, Calhoun — head coach since 1986 — leaves a huge basketball legacy at UConn: Three national championships in four Final Four appearances, seven Big East tournament championships, and one NIT championship.

Do you think seven months and one season is enough time for Kevin Ollie to prove himself as a head basketball coach in a high-profile college program?