Jim Calhoun vows return to coaching

Updated: February 8, 2012, 11:05 AM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun plans on getting through the latest health crisis with his back and returning to coaching when he is physically able.

The Hall of Fame coach was diagnosed with spinal stenosis last week and took a medical leave of absence. He missed last Saturday's win over Seton Hall and Monday night's crushing loss at Louisville.

He won't coach Saturday at Syracuse.

Calhoun
Calhoun

Calhoun told ESPN.com Tuesday that this is just another obstacle that he will get through. The three-time national championship coach also had a bout with prostate cancer and various stomach ailments over the years.

This is his latest setback, but he said it's not going to force him to retire.

"There's no question," Calhoun said by phone. "I've talked to the people at UConn and president (Susan) Herbst. I just want to get a resolution on my back."

Calhoun said that he has appointments in Boston and New York to get further MRI testing on his back. Those results will decide what the correct course of treatment should be before any decisions are made on how long he will be gone from the team and program.

"It's something I've got to get through," Calhoun said. "I don't think it changes my mind one way or another about next year or the next two years. I just want to get the pain gone from down my leg so I can walk right. Getting onto planes and coaching -- I can't do that right now."

Calhoun said that he had a hard time with his back when the Huskies were in the Bahamas in November playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis. He said he was in pain, but medication helped over the next six weeks.

However the pain increased dramatically in Washington D.C., last Tuesday before the Huskies played at Georgetown.

"I made it through the game, holding on," Calhoun said. "I had a tough time getting out of there, on the plane ride back. There's no way I could coach the next couple of days."

Calhoun was bedridden Thursday through Saturday, but did get up and around the past few days. He's well enough now to go out of town to see the specialists.

Calhoun said he watched the Huskies' 80-59 loss to Louisville on Monday night. But he declined to comment on the performance and didn't want to overstep associate coach George Blaney coaching the team.

"I'm doing my best to fight this thing," Calhoun said. "I've had couple of other obstacles before and this is another one. I'll fight through this."

Senior writer Andy Katz covers men's college basketball for ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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