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George Blaney, a New England coaching legend, announced his retirement today after 43 years as a college basketball coach, including the last 12 at UConn.
Blaney, 73, who arrived at UConn in 2001, spent last season as an assistant coach before accepting a role as a special assistant/advisor to head coach Kevin Ollie. During his time at UConn, he also was an associate head coach on Jim Calhoun’s staff.
His coaching career also included stops at Stonehill, Dartmouth, Seton Hall, Rhode Island and 22 years as head coach at Holy Cross, his alma mater.
“I always said I would know when it would be the right time to go,” Blaney said in a released statement. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my years at UConn, but I think for me, this is the right time.
“Coaching with Jim has been so special for me. We have always been such great friends and that just made for a wonderful working relationship. His passion for the game, for the kids, and for UConn is what made him such a special coach.
“And I am just so excited about Kevin. I said right from the get-go that Kevin Ollie is a superstar coach and he certainly showed it last year. And I think this year’s team is going to be terrific.”
Here’s what Ollie had to say about Blaney:
“Coach Blaney is just a great basketball coach … just the way he puts basketball and life in perspective,” Ollie said. “He’s been somebody I can confide in, no matter what the situation. Not only was Coach Blaney a great help to me last year through the transition to head coach, but he helped me when I was an assistant, helped me in my whole path to becoming a college coach. And of course, his decades of coaching experience have been invaluable to me on the bench.”
Blaney contributed greatly to UConn’s success, as the Huskies posted a 298-112 record, won two national championships, played in three Final Fours, won six Big East titles and earned 10 NCAA bids during Blaney’s 12 years.
“George had an awful lot to do with all that we were able to accomplish here and I will cherish the time we had working together,” Calhoun said. “He will always be very special to me and I’m proud to call him my friend.”
Today’s American Athletic Conference Championship semifinal doubleheader is underway here at the XL Center in Hartford. A crowd in the 12,000-13,000 range is expected for the UConn-Tulsa game. Tip-off time is 5 p.m.