Kevin Jermaine Ollie (born December 27, 1972) is a former American basketball coach and former player. He is the former head coach of the University of Connecticut men's basketball team. Ollie graduated from Connecticut in 1995 with a degree in Communications. He played for twelve National Basketball Association franchises, most prominently in three stints with the Philadelphia 76ers, in thirteen seasons from 1997 to 2010 after beginning his career with the CBA in 1995.
Ollie in May 2014
|Born||December 27, 1972|
|Listed height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Listed weight||195 lb (88 kg)|
|High school||Crenshaw (Los Angeles, California)|
|NBA draft||1995 / Undrafted|
|Number||3, 15, 5, 2, 12, 8, 7|
|2000||New Jersey Nets|
|2009–2010||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
After retiring from professional basketball in 2010, Ollie joined UConn as an assistant coach; in 2012 he was promoted to head coach following the retirement of Jim Calhoun (who coached Ollie when he was a player). In his second year as Huskies head coach, they won the 2014 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.
Ollie was born in Dallas, Texas to parents Fletcher and Dorothy Ollie and grew up in the rough neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles. When Ollie was 7, his parents divorced and his father moved to Dallas. He spent summers there, cutting lawns and doing other odd jobs so he could be with him for some length of time. His mother, a school teacher and ordained minister, raised him and his older sisters, Vita and Rhonda, by herself.
Ollie attended and played basketball at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, California. He then starred for four seasons (1991–95) at the University of Connecticut. After his college graduation, he joined the Connecticut Pride of the Continental Basketball Association, playing with them from 1995 to 1997. After that, he began playing in the NBA.
The Minnesota Timberwolves made Ollie their captain during the 2008–09 season. He was then signed by the Oklahoma City Thunder on August 1, 2009 for the veteran's minimum. After the season Ollie retired to join the Connecticut Huskies as an assistant coach.
NBA player Kevin Durant in an interview with Grantland said that Kevin Ollie (who played for Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009-2010) "taught him the ropes", and "changed the culture of Oklahoma City". He also said, “Kevin Ollie, he was a game changer for us. I think he changed the whole culture in Oklahoma City. Just his mind set, professionalism, every single day. And we all watched that, and we all wanted to be like that. It rubbed off on Russell Westbrook, myself, Jeff Green, James Harden. And then everybody who comes through now, it’s the standard that you’ve got to live up to as a Thunder player. And it all started with Kevin Ollie.”
Ollie had previously played a similar role with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jim Paxson, Cavaliers GM at the time, recalled his motivation for signing Ollie: "We thought he could come in and be a bridge for us at the point guard position," Paxson recalled, "and also be a good influence on our younger players, the primary one being LeBron James." Paxson cited Ollie's "professionalism and approach to the game" as qualities the team valued.
In 2012, Ollie was named the head basketball coach at Connecticut, replacing longtime hall of fame coach Jim Calhoun. During his college career, Ollie had played under Calhoun. He also served as an assistant coach for Calhoun's final two seasons at UConn. As an assistant coach in 2011, Ollie helped guide the Huskies to a record 11 straight postseason wins which included winning 5 games in 5 nights to win the Big East Tournament Championship and winning the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. On December 29, 2012, UConn and Ollie agreed to a five-year deal.
The Huskies ended their first season under Ollie 20-10 overall and 8th in Big East play (10-8). The team was ineligible for postseason play because of an NCAA ban resulting from a low APR score several seasons prior.
On December 2, 2013 the Huskies defeated Florida, after which they were ranked #9. The Huskies finished 3rd in the AAC, and defeated Memphis and Cincinnati until losing to Louisville in the AAC Championship game. Connecticut earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament with a #7 seed, and defeated #10-seeded Saint Joseph's, #2-seeded Villanova, #3-seeded Iowa State, and #4-seeded Michigan State to become the first #7 seed to reach the Final Four since the tournament expanded in 1985.
On April 5, 2014, the Huskies defeated top-ranked Florida in the First Final Four national semifinal of the NCAA Tournament 63-53. The Huskies then defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 60-54 in the championship game on April 7 for Connecticut's fourth NCAA men's championship in fifteen years.
On May 22, 2014, Ollie signed a new five-year contract with UConn, worth $2.8 million per year.
He was fired with "just cause" on March 10, 2018 due to a pending investigation by the NCAA. Ollie filed a claim under the University's grievance process, alleging disparate treatment due as his predecessor was retained despite committing multiple and more serious NCAA violations. UConn then refused to continue with the contractual grievance process when Ollie filed a separate claim through the courts. As of February 2019, Ollie and UConn administration are in arbitration related to his filing of the original grievance.
Awards and honorsEdit
In 2014 ESPN did a series on the Top 50 college hoops coaches—the best NCAA men's basketball coaches right now. Ollie was tenth best on the list. Although he was only in his second year of coaching, he started with a team subject to sanctions, unable to compete in the NCAA tournament, and still managed to complete the season with a 20–10 record, and followed that with a National Championship.
Ollie is a Christian. During his NBA career, Ollie was actively involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Ollie's FCA chaplain stated, "There are very few guys in the NBA who are really sold out to the Lord like Kevin."
NBA career statisticsEdit
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Head coaching recordEdit
Ollie's victories from the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons have been vacated.
|Connecticut Huskies (Big East Conference) (2012–2013)|
|Connecticut Huskies (American Athletic Conference) (2013–2018)|
|2014–15||Connecticut||20–15||10–8||T–5th||NIT First Round|
|2015–16||Connecticut||25–11||11–7||6th||NCAA Second Round|
|Connecticut:||97–79 (.551)||43–49 (.467)|
Postseason invitational champion
- Kevin Ollie at basketball-reference.com. Accessed 2012-02-02.
- "Kevin Ollie Bio". uconnhuskies.com. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- UConn Men's Basketball Coach Kevin Ollie: The Overachiever Archived 2014-08-20 at Archive.today
- "Kevin Ollie won't be intimidated by the challenge of following Jim Calhoun".
- "Kevin Ollie #12 Guard Archived 2008-12-23 at the Wayback Machine." National Basketball Association. Accessed October 11, 2008.
- "UConn product Ollie hired onto Calhoun's staff". 2 July 2010.
- Borges, David. "UCONN MEN'S BASKETBALL: Kevin Ollie as head coach no surprise to former Cavs GM Jim Paxson". New Haven Register. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
- "Calhoun to announce retirement". ESPN. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
- "NCAA defends Connecticut ban", ESPN, April 20, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- "UConn parts ways with Kevin Ollie citing just cause".
- "Top 50 coaches: No. 10 Kevin Ollie". ESPN. June 23, 2014. Retrieved 24 Jun 2014.
- "Triple Threat". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03.
- Fillo, MaryEllen. "Kevin Ollie's Wife Files For Divorce".
- NCAA hits Kevin Ollie hard in findings, puts UConn men’s basketball program on probation for two years, accessed July 15, 2019