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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / March 19.
  • Citing ‘Ongoing NCAA Investigation,’ UConn Fires Kevin Ollie

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    Citing an “ongoing NCAA investigation” UConn has fired head coach Kevin Ollie with cause and says it will conduct a “national search” for his replacement.

    Ollie went 14-18 this season, 7-11 in the American Athletic Conference. In five years at the school, he went 127-79, winning the NCAA championship in 2014.

    A dismal performance this season combined with the NCAA investigation in January led to Ollie’s downfall. Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant previously reported Ollie’s contract can be voided if NCAA violations are found.

    “The University of Connecticut has initiated disciplinary procedures to terminate the employment of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Kevin Ollie for just cause,” the school said in a release. “The University will have no further comment on the matter until the completion of both the University’s disciplinary process and the ongoing NCAA investigation.”

    Said University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst:

    “The men’s basketball program has a proud history and a tradition of excellence. Our goal, above all, is to ensure we have a program that UConn Nation can be proud of, including our students, alumni, fans, and all our committed supporters.”

    Said Director of Athletics David Benedict:

    “It is unfortunate that this decision became necessary. As with all of our programs, we hold men’s basketball to the highest standards. We will begin a national search immediately to identify our next head coach.”

    Expect Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley, whose team won the Atlantic 10 regular-season title, figures to be among those in the mix to replace Ollie. Hurley turned down Rutgers two years ago because he didn’t want another rebuilding effort and was tight with EC Matthews and the Rhody guys. UConn wouldn’t be a rebuilding job as much as trying to restore the program to former glory.

    UConn joins Pittsburgh among major college openings at this stage.

    UConn has three recruits signed for 2018 in guards James Akinjo and Emmitt Matthews Jr., along with big man Lukas Kisunas. Akinjo has already expressed a desire to re-open his recruitment.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.