Back in the Game

Jim Calhoun playing at AIC

AIC Board of Trustees Member and Alum Jim Calhoun ’68, Hon ’00 Named ESPY’s Coach of the Year

July 10, 2019 was a very big day for AIC Board of Trustees Member and alum Jim Calhoun ’68, Hon ’00. He was named ESPY’s Coach of the Year!

During his acceptance speech and in an article that appeared in AIC’s Lucent magazine in 2018, Calhoun cited the sudden death of his father when he was just 15 years old as a challenging time in his life. As one of six children, he put his education on hold for two years, going to work as a stone cutter and taking other manual labor jobs in order to help his family. Although disappointed because he wanted to play college basketball, the Braintree, MA, native credited the people around him, including his high school principal, his coach, and other mentors, for pushing him to enroll in college.

Speaking with Lucent, Calhoun shared that Gayton Salvucci, who grew up in Quincy, MA, was coaching football at AIC at the time and suggested Calhoun give AIC a look. And the rest, as they say, is history. Calhoun took the advice, received a scholarship, and became team captain in his senior year. He led the Yellow Jackets in scoring as a junior and senior. In 1966, he helped AIC achieve its first NCAA Division II playoff appearance.

In his ESPY Coach of the Year speech, Calhoun credited “the village around him” for his ability to pursue basketball adding, “I have dedicated my life to doing for others what those folks did for me,” allowing him to “reach out and help others” during his more than forty years of college coaching including 14 at Northeastern, 26 at the University of Connecticut including three NCAA Division I national championships while at UConn; and enshrinement in the AIC Athletic Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, both in 2005. Additionally, 31 of his players went on to careers in the National Basketball Association.

Now out of retirement and back in the game at 77 years of age with the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT, Calhoun guided the Blue Jays to a 16 -12 mark and GNAC championship game appearance during the NCAA Division III men’s basketball team’s inaugural season before being honored as ESPY’s Coach of the Year.

To read the entire Lucent magazine “Back in the Game” article, please click here.


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