March 19, 2009

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun has been hospitalized for tests and will be kept overnight for observation.

Calhoun was admitted Thursday afternoon and did not coach the top-seed Huskies’ 103-47 win against Chattanooga in the NCAA tournament’s opening round.

In a statement released by UConn, Calhoun said he felt lousy the past few days, and UConn sports medicine director Dr. Jeff Anderson suggested he be hospitalized.

“Fortunately, those tests have all gone well, and I am feeling much better,” said Calhoun, who added he hoped to be released from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania on Friday.

He will be re-evaluated Friday morning.

Associate head coach George Blaney said Calhoun called him at 11:45 a.m. and told him he felt “under the weather.”

Calhoun missed time in January 2008 with what the team called a combination of stress and exhaustion.

On Wednesday, the 66-year-old coach ran UConn’s practice in Philadelphia and attended the team’s news conference.

“Jim was fine at dinner last night. He woke up this morning and didn’t feel well,” said Tim Tolokan, UConn’s former sports information director and a close friend of Calhoun’s.

Calhoun’s son, Jeff, was at the Wachovia Center and said his father urged him to watch the Texas A&M-BYU game, which the Aggies won 79-66.

Blaney coached the Huskies in Calhoun’s absence. A.J. Price and Hasheem Thabeet each scored 20 points in the third-largest victory ever in NCAA tournament history—103-47 against Chattanooga.

“Coach Calhoun prepared them for this kind of performance,” Blaney said. “He works them so hard. They were prepared to play well. We just talked to Coach. He expects to be with us shortly.”

Blaney said Calhoun spoke with the team via speakerphone after the game, telling the players he expected to be back with the team very shortly.

The Huskies were loose in pregame warmups and Blaney smiled as he shook hands with the referees and other coaches. Blaney was introduced as UConn’s head coach during introductions and he shook hands with Chattanooga coach John Shulman.

Blaney coached Holy Cross for 22 years and led the Crusaders to three NCAA tournaments.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was sorry to hear Calhoun was missing the game.

“This is, I think, a special team for him,” Huggins said from Minneapolis. “It’s a shame he’s not able to go out and coach because I know he loves coaching them.”

This is the third NCAA tournament game Calhoun has missed. In the two previous instances, UConn went on to win the national title.

In 1999, Calhoun missed a first-round game against Texas-San Antonio. In 2004, he left a second-round game against DePaul after becoming ill. He returned just in time to see the end of UConn’s 72-55 victory.

Calhoun has missed 21 games in his career, including one other game this season—a Jan. 3 contest against Rutgers.

Last May, the Hall of Fame coach was treated for a second bout of skin cancer. He had surgery to remove a lump in the upper right side of his neck near the jaw line and underwent radiation.

In 2003, Calhoun missed five games when he underwent surgery for prostate cancer.