Kevin Ollie led the UConn Huskies on an improbable run to the 2014 NCAA Tournament title and now he’s about to get paid like one of the top basketball coaches in the country. Sources close to the situation claim Ollie and UConn are closing in a big new contract.
Details of the deal won’t be available until after it’s completed, but ESPN is reporting it would be a five-year deal worth close to $3 million annually. Ollie is currently in the second year of his current five-year deal, and he was paid $1.25 million last season. He was originally given a seven-month contract when he replaced Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun in September of 2012. After three months he was given a five-year, $7.5 million deal.
The new deal will make Ollie the highest-paid coach in the American Athletic Conference and would mark a huge raise for the 41-year-old. Ollie’s coaching career began as an assistant for Calhoun in 2010 and he has no other head coaching experience, but he clearly knows what he’s doing.
Ollie was reportedly on the lists of some NBA teams for their head coaching jobs after what he did at UConn this year, but this would obviously shut down any of those whispers. It makes sense that he’s going to get a huge new deal, Ollie is a a UConn grad who has a way with players and is regarded as an excellent recruiter.
He played 12 seasons in the NBA and was always highly-regarded around the league. In fact, Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant credits Ollie with his success and claims when the veteran arrived on the team it changed the culture in the locker room. Basically, he taught the young guys on the team how to be a professional.
You have to feel like Ollie has a special connection at UConn and that he will build something great there. Without a top-tier football team on campus, the school had to make the move to lock Ollie up. It’s the right decision all around.