Blog Entry

Calhoun takes medical leave from coaching

Posted on: February 3, 2012 1:55 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 7:52 pm
Calhoun has stepped aside from his coaching duty many times in the past decade. (Getty Images)
By Matt Norlander

UPDATE, 7:49 p.m.: Calhoun spoke over the phone to the Associated Press Friday night. Some of his quotes have been added to this article.

Jim Calhoun is temporarily and indefinitely taking another leave of absence as head coach of UConn, the school announced Friday afternoon. Calhoun's leave is medically related, as he's dealing with a "worsening" condition of "spinal stenosis, a lower back condition that causes him severe pain and hampers mobility."

That means Calhoun is out for Saturday's game against Seton Hall and will also definitively not coach in Monday's game at Louisville. George Blaney, associate head coach, will step in again as he's done many times before during previous hiatuses Calhoun has taken from the team.

The team's press release quotes Calhoun's doctor, Peter Schulman, saying this has been an ongoing issue for Calhoun for the past few months.

“Last summer, Jim had some significant back pain and has seen two excellent back specialists,” Schulman said in the release. “The initial approach recommended to him was stretching, physical therapy and exercise, and that was successful for several months. It turns out that there is some degenerative problem in the lumbar vertebrae and it’s impinging on the nerves. It has led to significant back pain and some symptoms in his lower extremities. Jim has been able to manage it with the physical therapy and stretching, but over the last several days, things have become worse and he is not able to deal with this on a day to day basis, so other options need to be considered. Right now, he is physically unable to coach.”

Calhoun told the AP Friday night he "couldn't even get up" after plane rides and that the pain had become more and more brutal. He was unable to get out of bed Friday morning, and that's when the decision apparently became final: he was missing the next immediate stretch of games.

"But it's just so bad, even getting through practice," Calhoun said. "Now I'm going to see what the next step is. The bottom line is I'm hurting. ... I had back pain like never before last summer, thought it was back spasms. I saw a neurologist and he told me about scoliosis, stenosis and other things and that there could be things like a bone spur and that I could probably need something done at some point. I went for the physical therapy and it worked, but it started to lock up sometimes recently and it was worse."

Calhoun will turn 70 in May.

Since: Feb 25, 2008
Posted on: February 4, 2012 3:44 pm

Calhoun takes medical leave from coaching

He has cheated and been accused of cheating many times.  He's just never been caught.  Someone always "takes the rap" for him so allegations don't "stick" on him directly.  But you are correct about people jumping all over this with nasty comments.  He does have a serious medical condition.

Since: Apr 21, 2011
Posted on: February 4, 2012 3:15 pm

Calhoun takes medical leave from coaching

Wow, some real nast people posting on this board. A great coach has a painful medical condition and needs to take some time off - and you use it as an opportunity to slam him?

Whether you love or hate UConn, Calhoun is one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time. He has never cheated or even been accused of cheating - the NCAA violations came from others' actions in recruitment of a kid who never even played for UConn. 

Get well soon, Jim.    &

Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: February 4, 2012 2:00 am

Calhoun takes medical leave from coaching

Yet another leave of absence for Calhoun?

If any real employee that didn't work at an overpaid job that was used for entertainement took as much time off for "health reasons" as Calhoun did, they would be laid off/fired. Just saying. Pack it up, Calhoun. You should've retired last year after you won the national championship and were on top. Big mistake coming back... now your team is under-performing and you're having health problems again.

Smart move.  

Since: Mar 26, 2010
Posted on: February 3, 2012 11:30 pm

Calhoun takes medical leave from coaching

Cheaters never prosper, Jimbo

Since: Aug 28, 2011
Posted on: February 3, 2012 9:26 pm

Calhoun takes medical leave from coaching

if calhoun had as many mcdonald all americans as duke gets year in and out he would be in wooden territory. coach k is biggest under achiever in ncaa history

Since: Aug 28, 2011
Posted on: February 3, 2012 9:21 pm

Calhoun takes medical leave from coaching

up yours. you know nothing about the man. everyone holds that whiny coach k up as a god but i am close to someone who is close to k and says the man is insecure and petty. thats why he surrounds himself with former players. no one has done more with less than calhoun 

Since: Jan 24, 2008
Posted on: February 3, 2012 8:10 pm

Calhoun takes medical leave from coaching

Well if his pain is that serious he should retire. He is a year removed from a championship. UConn has won 3 during my lifetime and I remember each and everyone of them. Jim Calhoun turned Connecticut into the only legit in that area. UConn should let Kevin Ollie take over and we will be fine. The legacy and respect of the UConn tradition will keep the school going.

Since: Jan 3, 2010
Posted on: February 3, 2012 8:10 pm

Calhoun takes medical leave from coaching

Acheater, crook, scumbag, however you want to say it usually gets his.

Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: February 3, 2012 6:56 pm

Calhoun takes medical leave from coaching

Thats why blue collar workers and everyday Joe's do what they do, because they don't  understand and are not willing to put into a job like people of Calhoun's caliber.  They say ignorant things like "If I called out sick at my job, I'd be fired" or "I'd love his job and get paid for medical leave for a hangnail."   That kind of limited thinking is why you are a burger flipper.  People in these famous positions often deal with stress 10x more than you would, stress of constant travel, being 100 things to 10,000 people. That leads to a physical toll.  Im not rich guy nor wish to have a high profile job, but I can appreciate those who sacrifice some of themselves for what they do. Its hard on everyone around them.  Blue collar people like you don't usually get it and you never will.

Since: Feb 11, 2011
Posted on: February 3, 2012 6:21 pm

Calhoun takes medical leave from coaching

I wished I loved my job as much as these guys.  I get a hangnail and I'm ready to retire.

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