"We're pleased to associate our award with one of the most successful and highly respected coaches in college basketball history," said Llewellyn. "In addition to his standout work at Northeastern University, Jim is responsible for transforming Connecticut into one of college basketball's elite programs. He has achieved his on-court success by recruiting quality student-athletes that demonstrate strong character and uphold the attributes that Coach Wooden advocated throughout his career."
The Wooden Award Committee adopted the "Legends of Coaching" Award in 1999 to recognize the lifetime achievements of coaches that exemplify Coach Wooden's high standards of coaching success and personal achievement. When selecting the individual, the committee considers character, coaching philosophy, student-athlete graduation rates, success on the court, and the coach's identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award. Calhoun will receive the award during the Wooden Award Ceremony on April 9, 2005, at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
In 18 years at Connecticut (1986-2004), Calhoun has compiled a distinguished 432-165 (72.4%) record while leading the Huskies to two National Championships (1999, 2004) and a regular spot in the top 25 collegiate polls. Prior to UCONN, Calhoun spent 14 outstanding years at Northeastern University, where he developed the program from Division II status to a nationally-recognized squad that became a perennial NCAA Division I tournament team. Calhoun has won numerous awards during his 32 years as an NCAA head coach, including the prestigious Victor Award as the 1998-99 College Basketball National Coach of the Year and the National Association of Basketball Coaches District I Coach of the Year. He is the only coach in the history of the BIG EAST Conference to have been named BIG EAST Coach of the Year four times.
A former All-American and All-New England player at American International College in Springfield, Mass., Calhoun graduated from AIC in 1968 with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology. At AIC, he lettered three years while leading the Yellow Jacket basketball team in scoring as a junior and senior.
On a more personal note, three years ago Jim Calhoun faced one of the biggest challenges of his life after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Remarkably, just days after surgery, he was back at work for the Huskies, demonstrating to his players, colleagues and college basketball followers the kind of will and determination we have all grown to expect from Calhoun and his program. Several athletes under Calhoun's tutelage have been named Wooden All-Americans, including Donyell Marshall (1994), Ray Allen (9596), Richard Hamilton (1998, 1999), Caron Butler (2002) and Emeka Okafor (2002, 2003).
About the John R. Wooden Award
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation's best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Michael Jordan ('84), Larry Bird ('79), Tim Duncan ('97) and last year's recipients, Jameer Nelson and Alana Beard ('04).
The 2005 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award, the Wooden Award All-American Teams, and the "Legends of Coaching" Award, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on April 9, 2005, and will be broadcast live on a national CBS telecast.
The top five male and female finalists will receive a contribution from the John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund in their name to their university's general scholarship fund. The Wooden Award Scholarship Fund was established in 2002 by Applied Materials and corporate partners through the California Community Foundation (CCF) to honor Coach Wooden's dedication as an educator and mentor. Applied Materials distributed $15,000 last year to each university represented by a men's and women's Wooden Award All-American Team finalist (for a total of $150,000). Additional donations to Applied Materials' John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund can be made by contacting the scholarship fund through the CCF (www.calfund.org).