Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: September 14, 8:35 AM ET
Reaction to Jim Calhoun's retirement
A sampling of reaction to UConn coach Jim Calhoun's retirement from former players and fellow college basketball coaches:
Larry Brown, SMU coach, Hall of Famer
"I'm happy and I'm sad. I love Jim. I was so lucky I got to coach some of his kids in the NBA. Everyone I coached that played for Connecticut played the right way, played hard and respected the game. They respected the game and they respected coaching -- and, believe me, they all loved him. That's something that's pretty special.
"I hope he's (retiring) for the right reasons. I hate to see him leave the game. I hope nothing is wrong. He made our game better. He'll be missed.
"Kevin (Ollie) and I are very close. He had an opportunity to play another year in the NBA or go work for Coach Calhoun. I told him, 'Go right away. Get with him, because the sooner you do it, the sooner you'll be prepared when opportunities arises. He'll make you great.' "
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke coach, Hall of Famer
"Jim has been absolutely incredible. He's an amazing competitor and clearly one of the best coaches ever. For 40 years as a college head coach, his teams played with his spirit and the results were unmistakable -- championship-level performances. He is a true giant in our game and a dear friend. Certainly, he will be missed."
Roy Williams, North Carolina coach
"Jim is one of basketball's most competitive coaches and his ability to get his teams to play hard every game made him one of the finest we've ever known. He's a friend and I'll miss competing against his teams and seeing him on the recruiting trail.
"He has left an enormous legacy at Connecticut, one that he was so instrumental in building. I truly admire the fact that he built his Hall of Fame coaching career from the ground up and retires as one of the giants in our game. I will really miss him."
Billy Donovan, Florida coach
"From a distance, I've always admired how tough his teams were. How hard they played and how they rebounded and defended. Obviously, at his age, for him to do it and stay at one place as long as he has is remarkable.
"I can remember him so many times getting so close in the Elite Eight where some crazy things that happened to him and he came up a little short. So then to break through and win three of them is a testimony to his perseverance and drive and competitiveness. He's been remarkable.
"I think that's who he's been as a coach. He's got a tremendous internal drive. He's got great perseverance, not just in his coaching, but in his personal life. He's had to persevere through some things. If there's anything you want to do as a coach, you want your team to embody your personality and your passion. His teams did that. They embodied who he was as a man. That's probably the best compliment you could give to a coach as it relates to his team, that they played the game and competed like he competed in every area of his life.
Ben Gordon, Former UConn star
"Personally I never thought Coach would retire. Before I ever signed with Connecticut, there were rumors that he may retire soon. While I was there, those rumors lingered. And I've been hearing them ever since I left. You never quite believe it until you see it.
"Anyone who knows Coach Calhoun knows how competitive he is and how persistent he is and how much passion he has for the game. It really must've been his time to go. He poured his heart and his whole life into being the head coach at the University of Connecticut and establishing greatness in the program. He's had a great career. Being in the Hall of Fame and winning three championships ... there really isn't much left for him to accomplish. It'll be good for him to take care of his body and to spend the rest of his time with his family.
Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh coach
"We came here 14 years ago. It was the year after Connecticut had won their first national championship. We didn't know too much about the conference or the East. We looked at how they did things. We tried to gain knowledge by watching what kind of team they were putting on the floor.
"We recognized that they'd be a pretty good team to emulate.
"He should be remembered as a guy that won three national championships. He did it in unique ways. I don't know how many guys have won national championships that didn't win their league. He did it at least twice. That's noteworthy, I believe. He had a way to get them to play well in the NCAA tournament.
Geno Auriemma, UConn's women's coach
The great success achieved by the UConn men's basketball program under Jim Calhoun's leadership helped propel the University of Connecticut onto the national stage. His contributions to this University have been positive and will be long lasting. I want to take this opportunity to wish Jim Calhoun all my best in a long, happy and healthy retirement.
ESPN.com's Jason King and Andy Katz contributed to this report.