Jim Calhoun Names Best Team He Ever Coached

Calhoun has spent nearly a half century in coaching, and one of his teams stands above the rest

Zach Gelb
April 07, 2020 - 12:20 pm
Jim Calhoun Connecticut

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Jim Calhoun has spent almost a half century in coaching, and he has coached some incredible teams during that time. 

At UConn, Calhoun won 10 Big East regular-season titles, seven Big East Tournament titles, reached four Final Fours and won three national titles.

“The 2004 team is the best team I’ve ever had, no question,” Calhoun said on The Zach Gelb Show. “Emeka Okafor was the second guy taken in the draft [that year]. He ended up being Rookie of the Year. Ben Gordon, who became Sixth Man of the Year, [played] 11 years [in the NBA and was the] third guy [taken] in [that] draft. Charlie Villanueva, Josh Boone, Hilton Armstrong, Marcus Williams – six first-round draft choices over the next couple years. That was really, really a special, special team.”

The 2004 squad, which finished 33-6, beat Duke in the Final Four and Georgia Tech in the national championship. Okafor had 24 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks in the final.

“When he was healthy, he was far and away the best player in the country,” Calhoun said. “[That was] a team I knew could win the national championship.”

Calhoun also won national titles in 1999 and 2011. The 2011 squad was led by Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb and Shabazz Napier and won its final 11 games of the season.

“To win 11 straight – five in five days at the Big East Tournament and then six games for the national championship – that was a special journey,” Calhoun said. “[It made] me still believe this game can bring you some incredible joys.”