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Familiar Face On Fenway Mound?

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Jim Calhoun (Elise Amendola/AP Photo)

Jim Calhoun (Elise Amendola/AP Photo)

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By HOWARD ULMAN, AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) _ Jim Calhoun was excited to return to Fenway Park
to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The longtime Red Sox fan
is in no rush to decide whether to return as coach of Connecticut.

Just five days after leading the Huskies to the NCAA basketball
championship for the third time, the Boston native said Saturday he
hasn’t decided whether to come back for a 26th season.

“I can guarantee you I haven’t made my mind up in any way,”
Calhoun said. “I’m just going to try to get this team ready for
next year and we’ll see what happens.”

Last Tuesday, the day after the Huskies beat Butler 53-41 for
the championship, Calhoun said he plans to play golf and reflect on
the season before deciding whether to return.

For now, he’s doing what coaches do in the offseason.

“We’re working very hard, recruiting-wise,” Calhoun said. “I
would do that regardless of what I’m doing (next season).”

He had no doubts about what he wanted to do on Saturday before
the Red Sox game against the New York Yankees –stand on the mound
at Fenway Park, where he once pitched in an American Legion
all-star game about 50 years ago.

“To come back home is really nice,” said Calhoun, who was
raised about two miles “as the crow flies” from the ballpark.

“And to come back home in these circumstances (as champion) is
even nicer.”

Calhoun coached basketball at Dedham High School just outside
Boston before becoming coach at Northeastern in 1972 and
Connecticut in 1986.

“I had an opportunity to do something else today, but there was
nothing else for me except for my Red Sox,” he said. “Yesterday I
had been fortunate enough to be at Wall Street and open the (stock)
market and that was great, but this is home. This is home for me.

“I have two homes. I have where I was born and where my roots
are and then my other place, which over the past 25 years is really
my home now, and that’s Connecticut. So you can never go home
again? Yeah, you can.”

Bruce Berman, a Boston University professor, threw a ceremonial
pitch before Calhoun. It bounced in the grass about halfway to home
plate.
“I got pressure taken off of me,” Calhoun joked. “I don’t
want to cast any aspersions on anybody, but the professor from BU
really helped me a great deal. I appreciate it.”

His own pitch, delivered right-handed from the rubber, made it
all the way to the plate. Boston manager Terry Francona caught the
high throw in the right-hand hitter’s batter’s box– although
Calhoun smiled and raised his right hand to signal a strike.

The 68-year-old Calhoun said he was asked if he wanted to throw
from in front of the mound.

“That would be like playing from the senior tees,” he said.

“I’m just not going to do that. That’s not going to happen. I
could throw a baseball pretty good at one time.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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