This weekend, the University of Connecticut Huskies upset the Florida Gators for the win leading them to the NCAA Championship game. They were led by Kevin Ollie, the only black coach in this year’s Final Four. Ollie is a 13-year NBA veteran who’s only been coaching for four years.
His path led him to UConn, where he started as assistant coach and is now in his second season as head coach. If the Huskies win the 2014 NCAA Championship, Ollie will be only the fourth black coach to take the title. Under Ollie’s leadership, UConn became the second Number 6 seed or lower to make the finals in the past 29 years.
The last black coach to win the championship was Kentucky’s Tubby Smith in 1998. Ollie is a Dallas, TX native raised in Los Angeles, CA. He graduate from Crenshaw High School and went to play basketball at UConn under then coach Jim Calhoun. Ollie became the all-time leader in assists at Connecticut, graduating in1995 with a degree in Communications.
After college, in the Continental Basketball Association and the U.S. Basketball League which eventually led to the NBA. He played for the Philadelphia 76’ers, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Oklahoma City Thunder providing and example for both a young Lebron James and Kevin Durant. Over the course of his career, Ollie played for 11 different NBA franchises in 12 different cities and learned from 15 different NBA coaches. Tonight, Ollie could go from NBA journeyman to NCAA Championship coach. What a journey!
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