Lawsuit against Miller comes at a precarious time for Ollie
News item: Kevin Ollie's latest swing at grandstanding — suing Glen and Yvonne Miller for slander — came one day after published reports said Raphael Chillious, the man Ollie hired to replace Miller, was "in the room" for the secretly-taped, July, 2017 meeting in a Las Vegas hotel room that led to the government-led NCAA corruption scandal against agents, coaches and shoe company executives.
Sort of makes the timing of Ollie's lawsuit a bit precarious, no?
I mean, whom shall we believe?
Miller, whose reputation in 30 years of coaching has nary a scratch, or Ollie, who presumably sent Chillious to Vegas for the purpose of cheating?
The following comes from a story in Hearst Connecticut Media:
"In a New York City courtroom (last) Thursday, it was officially confirmed that Chillious was, indeed, "in the room" when Christian Dawkins, Marty Blazer and an undercover FBI agent entertained numerous college basketball assistant coaches at a hotel suite at the Las Vegas Cosmopolitan, looking to procure relationships that would see the coaches guide their players to Dawkins' agency in return for cash that could be used to lure new recruits."
Again: Are we to believe Chillious went to Vegas to play craps?
That Ollie knew nothing of this?
More from the report in Hearst:
"Some of the coaches got wads of cash from Dawkins and Blazer, however, Chillious apparently got none. Still, he was caught on video speaking to Dawkins.
"You (would) have the resources and ammunition, if (you) need it," Dawkins told Chillious.
"And you know (I) need it," Chillious replied, while pledging his "1,000 percent" support for the plan."
Hearst reported that "Chillious was among a group of other coaches who didn't receive money, according to Blazer, because they didn't have enough recruiting clout."
And so, based on this evidence alone, why would thinking members of society believe one shred of this lawsuit accusing Miller of slander for testifying that Ollie paid to get a player? What, it's far-fetched to think the same guy who would send an assistant coach to Vegas to cheat would use cash payments to get another recruit?
In 2017, Miller relayed information from his wife, Yvonne, about how Stephanie Garrett, the mother of former UConn player Shonn Miller, received in the neighborhood of $30,000 from Ollie during an exchange at the Nathan Hale Inn on the UConn campus. Yvonne Miller repeated the accusation during her interview.
The lawsuit cites "revenge" as motivation for Miller, who was fired by Ollie in March 2017 after five seasons on his staff. Now I'm not saying that Miller was in the mood to exchange marinara recipes with Ollie after learning he was fired, but I'm betting this way:
Glen Miller got fired because he wouldn't agree to cheat.
And there's no shame in that whatsoever.
Except now Ollie seeks more than $15,000 for economic and non-economic damages, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and harm to reputation.
Harm to reputation?
Seems Kevin Ollie took care of that all by himself.
Lest we forget the 1,355-page report detailing UConn's termination case against Ollie, who is accused of committing NCAA violations that focus on improper contact with recruits, including Ray Allen speaking to a prospect over the phone, and players receiving outside training sessions. UConn's battle with Ollie over the $10 million left on his contract is set for arbitration. Ollie was fired in March 2018 for just cause.
Normally, I'd worry that Miller's good name would be tarnished with such accusations. But I wouldn't believe Kevin Ollie if he told me the sky is blue on a sunny day. He'll do anything, say anything and sue anybody now to get his money and save face.
Except that his credibility is zero.
Still, I doubt we've heard the last of him. Lawsuits will come shot from the confetti gun now, complete with all the huffing, puffing, insinuating, implicating and insisting that come from complete desperation.
Maybe one day, someone will get to ask Kevin Ollie why Raphael Chillious went to Las Vegas. Get your popcorn ready for that one.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro