UConn, ex-coach Kevin Ollie agree to $3.9 million settlement, ending a five-year long legal battle
After a long and grueling legal battle, the University of Connecticut (UConn) has settled with former basketball head coach Kevin Ollie for $3.9 million, with Ollie claiming reputational damage and attorney fees.
Ollie, a former UConn point guard, was fired by UConn in 2018 after two consecutive losing seasons, the first time since the teams from the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons did. Despite this, Ollie left with a record of 127-79.
In 2014, both UConn’s men’s and women’s basketball teams won the national championship, becoming the only school in history to do so. They achieved the same feat in 2004.
Ollie led the Huskies men’s team to the title over Kentucky 60-54, won the school’s fourth men’s basketball title and became the first and only 7-seeded to win the NCAA tournament.
UConn and former basketball head coach Kevin Ollie agree to a $3.9 million settlement
Ollie and the school released a joint statement Thursday saying that this settlement has resolved “all outstanding matters related to his former employment at the University of Connecticut and to avoid further costly and lengthy lawsuits.”
That eliminated the possibility of Ollie filing a federal racial discrimination lawsuit against his alma mater.
‘I am grateful that we were able to achieve’ [an] agreement,” Ollie said.
“My time at UConn as a student athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter has now been fully and definitively resolved.”
UConn fired Ollie after an NCAA investigation into felony pick-up games that don’t count toward allowed team activities, impermissible coaching instruction, and a booster that benefits student athletes.
Ollie was fired from the school in 2018 for just cause after an NCAA investigation found violations
The NCAA cleared 30 wins from UConn’s official record as a result of the investigation. In addition, the school was put on two-year probation and Ollie was given a warrant for the show, which prevented him from coaching college basketball until last July.
Last January, an arbitrator ruled that UConn had unfairly fired Ollie and ordered the school to give him more than $11 million in back wages.
Ollie currently coaches at Overtime Elite, a competition for prospects who don’t go to college but want to make it to the NBA.
Kevin Ollie became head coach in 2012, after legendary coach Jim Calhoun retired from coaching. He did this with little time before the season started, leading many to believe he was doing this to ensure the university installed Ollie as a coach.
Ollie replaced legendary head coach Jim Calhoun, who retired in September 2012
UConn was unable to make it to the tournament in 2013 due to a post-season suspension, but came back in 2014
His first season saw UConn banned from the postseason due to NCAA violations under Calhoun. That ban saw numerous transfers from previously significant contributors. Despite the circumstances, UConn went 20-10 that season, their last in the Big East Conference under Ollie.
The following season — their first in the newly formed, less prestigious American Athletic Conference — UConn finished an even better 32-8. Led by senior guard and future NBA player Shabazz Napier, a seven-place UConn team defeated three of the top-4 seeds in their region to make their 5th ever Final Four.
There they defeated no. 1 Florida seed overall—which they beat at home earlier that season—before beating Kentucky in the championship.
Ollie became just the fourth Black head coach to ever win an NCAA title. He also became one of two head coaches to win an NCAA title in their first-ever tournament since the field expanded to 64 teams.
Led by star point guard Shabazz Napier (R), Ollie and the Huskies ran to the Final Four
After beating Florida along with players like Ryan Boatright (L), Napier, Ollie and UConn won the school’s fourth title of men’s basketball in their history
UConn celebrated two national basketball titles — for both men’s and women’s basketball — in 2014 and they are still the only school to have made that feat. They’ve done it twice.
UConn saw a decline after the title win as Ollie struggled to recruit well in another conference. The team only made the NCAA tournament once during the remainder of Ollie’s tenure, falling in the second round of the 2016 edition.
In the 2016-17 season, Ollie produced UConn’s first losing season in 30 years – the first year Calhoun coached in Storrs – 16-17. The 2017-18 campaign saw another drop to a record 14-18.
Two days after a loss to SMU in the American Athletic Conference Tournament, Ollie was fired for just cause, with the university citing the NCAA investigation.
After the 2014 title, UConn faltered, claimed two losing records and led to Ollie .’s resignation