(Storrs, Conn./WTIC Radio/ESPN) – The end could come soon for UConn men’s basketball head coach Kevin Ollie. A statement released this morning by the university reads:
“The University of Connecticut has initiated disciplinary procedures to terminate the employment of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Kevin Ollie for just cause. 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.”
Back in January, the NCAA targeted the program in an investigation into it’s recruiting practices. The University acknowledged it was cooperating with that investigation.
UConn athletic director David Benedict said “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.”
The Huskies concluded a 14-18 record on Thursday with a loss to SMU in the first round of the AAC Tournament.
Late Saturday evening, Ollie released a statement to ESPN, saying that he will contest the firing for just cause. The statement reads:
“The University of Connecticut, which has been my home and my family since I was 18 years of age, has decided to initiate the procedures to terminate my employment for cause, which I am contesting. As the head coach of the University of Connecticut, which is one of the greatest honors and privileges of my life, I have always diligently promoted an atmosphere of compliance for all involved in the program, directly or indirectly. It has always been my creed to conduct myself in a manner that reflects positively on the university, my program and my family. My objective throughout my eight-year tenure has been to nurture and develop young men to be productive citizens, positive role models and active community leaders. I am confident that I have strived to model behaviors which are consistent with this objective. This process has just begun, and I intend to work vigorously to defend my honor and my integrity, and to defend my good name to the fullest extent provided under the law, the university grievance procedures and the NCAA compliance process.”
Ollie is a member of the University of Connecticut’s branch of the American Association of University Professors, a union that represents thousands of faculty members around the country.
Per those close to the situation, few college basketball coaches possess union protection.
But Ollie’s contract stipulates he’s entitled to a hearing within the next 15 days to defend himself against the school’s claim that it has the right to fire him with “just cause” and avoid the multimillion-dollar payout he would receive if he was terminated without cause.