University of Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun will have back surgery next week and miss at least two more games, the school said today in a news release.
The 69-year-old coach, who led the Huskies to last season’s National Collegiate Athletic Association championship, is expected to remain hospitalized for one or two nights following surgery on Feb. 27 to alleviate spinal stenosis, according to the Storrs, Connecticut-based university.
He won’t coach on Feb. 25 against Syracuse University or Feb. 28 against Providence College, the seventh and eighth games he has missed since taking a leave of absence on Feb. 3 because of the lower-back condition.
“I’m glad we have finally determined the best course of treatment to deal with the problem,” Calhoun said in the statement. “I’m looking forward to having the procedure done, hopefully recovering as quickly as possible, and putting it all in the past.”
UConn has gone 3-3 since Calhoun began his medical leave, including Big East conference losses to Louisville, Syracuse and Marquette, all ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 at the time. The Huskies’ victories have come against unranked Seton Hall, DePaul and Villanova.
Should Calhoun miss just two more games, he would return to coach the team March 3 at home against Pittsburgh, the final game of the regular season. Assistant George Blaney, in his 11th season with the team, has taken over head-coaching duties in Calhoun’s absence.
The Huskies are 17-10 this season, with a 7-8 record in the Big East. The 2011 NCAA title was Calhoun’s third in 26 years at the university, and he entered this season with 855 wins, sixth-most all-time at college basketball’s top level.
A member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, Calhoun was suspended by the NCAA for the first three conference games this season for failing to monitor recruiting violations that included more than $6,000 in improper benefits to a former player.
In January 2010, Calhoun took a seven-game leave for an undisclosed illness. At that time, the school said the condition was unrelated to his history of prostate cancer, which required surgery in 2003.