|It's UConn's impressive, new, do-it-all, AD Warde Manuel, whose name inevitably brings to mind Batmanuel. (AP)|
Jim Calhoun has done this to himself. Since he's decided to take the past few offseasons with an as-it-comes approach, speculation about his future, especially where I live, here in Connecticut, bubbles up with regularity between April and mid-July.
Then he's spotted or reported on the recruiting trail, and his return is deemed imminent, Calhoun playing none the wiser and happily stringing the media along. He's made claims about releasing a decision about his future in offseasons' past, but it's never come to be.
Last year, he just went about his life, we twiddled our thumbs as the weeks passed. Then Calhoun showed up at preseason media day, and that was it. Let's do this thing again, for the 40th time. In Calhoun's mind, there was never much of a question about coming back. With two years remaining on his contract, that cycle is likely to repeat itself twice more before things really begin to change in Storrs.
Yes, it's becoming increasingly clear that Calhoun will be there on the sidelines, scolding and scowling next season, when UConn won't be playing for anything but pride, really. This assurance comes from the mind and mouth of new wunderkind AD Warde Manuel, who has had quite the respectable, lasting impression in his short few months at his new post. You'll recall Manuel recently publicly stated that the transition from Calhoun to the next UConn coach, whenever that may be, will more or less be his decision, not Calhoun's.
Manuel told Hartford Courant columnist Jeff Jacobs that Calhoun's return comes with no doubt.
The interview -- again, linked right above the dropquote -- covers a lot of UConn issues, from basketball to football to TV deals to the reality that UConn has little-to-no shot at getting a reversal on the 2013 postseason ban. So if you're a Huskies fan, it qualifies as a must-read.
Is there any doubt in your mind that Jim Calhoun, at 70, is coming back next season?
"No," Manuel said.
He's going to coach next season?
"Yep," Manuel said, "all indications to me, in conversations, yeah. I haven't worried about that based on our conversations. I don't have any doubt."
As for the man who's given this program three national titles, this news/non-news is as much about Connecticut's stability and ability to recruit for the near-future as anything else. The Huskies don't have a top-25 recruiting class next year, but are working on landing an elite coup for 2013. Calhoun's proven he won't tip his hand at when he'll go, and why start now? My lingering curiosity is, when he does announce his retirement, will he do it before the start of his final season? Mid-year? Or does he wait to publicly break the news until after he's coached his final game?