Currently coaching at the University of Saint Joseph, Calhoun was formerly the head coach of the Northeastern University Huskies as well as the University of Connecticut Huskies. Having been at UConn for nearly 3 decades, Calhoun led the Huskies through 874 games in which they won a total of 629 (72%) and 3 NCAA championships. The final championship at UConn was a number 3 seeded team in the tournament led by none other than Kemba Walker, who became a superstar in the world of basketball as a result.
Kemba Walker cutting the net after winning the 2011 NCAA national championship with the UConn Huskies. Photo via Ronald Martinez
Retiring from UConn just a year after Walker was drafted into the NBA, Calhoun remained connected with his former point guard over the years as his star power continued into the pros. Now years later, the two are closer than ever as Walker prepares for the biggest change of his career thus far and Calhoun watches proudly near by.
Kemba Walker (left) and Jim Calhoun (right) playing in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Photo via Nick Laham
Yesterday, Calhoun caught up with Kemba at the Auerbach Center and spoke with media after about his excitement for Walker and his career moving forward. As a native of Braintree, Massachusettes, he was ecstatic with Walker's decision to join the Celtics and their winning culture during the prime of his career:
"I'm a Bostonian, so I still love the Celtics and still want them to do well. I always follow my kids and it's kind of a nice bonus to have a team I grew up with and loved to have one of the best players and people I have ever coached, Kemba being here."
Being very involved in Walker's free agency decision this summer, Calhoun spoke to the Celtics' front office about what they signed up for in offering Kemba a deal. According to him, this is what he had to say:
“When I talked to them, I said they’re going to get a special player. I’ve coached 50 years and have had 30 NBA players who played at least four years, and he’s as special as anybody I’ve ever had in the sense of leadership, caring and has incredible confidence with humility, which is a really hard thing to have.”
In addition to all of this, Calhoun also added some complimentary details of Walkers' extremely valuable work ethic as well as his loving personality that makes him such a great leader and so easy to get along with.
It's good to see that Walker and his former coach are still very close, as they will literally be a lot closer to each other for at least the next few years. Hopefully, this will be an additional aid to Walker as he transitions to Boston and takes on his new role as the leader of the NBA's most historic franchise.