Connecticut Fires Head Coach Kevin Ollie Due to Improper Contacts, Workouts

Kevin Ollie has been fired with just cause by the University of Connecticut due illegal workouts and improper contact with recruits, per documents from an NCAA investigation that included the UConn compliance office. The documents containing the violations are reportedly 1,355 pages long, per the Hartford Courant.

The Hartford Courant listed several of the allegations:

  • Ollie shot baskets with a potential recruit while the unnamed recruit was on an official visit. A portion of that shootaround was videotaped by the player’s aunt, which was then published by The Courant, which is how Benedict learned of the incident. Ollie didn’t deny that he participated in the shootaround but claimed it was limited in scope. The university self-reported the incident to the NCAA. In September, guard James Akinjo from California was on an official visit, and he and Ollie stopped to shoot baskets together in the Werth Family Center. Akinjo’s guardian took video of it and posted it on Twitter, which The Courant noted in a story after Akinjo committed to UConn. The video was taken down from Twitter.

  • Ollie facilitated a call between a potential recruit and former UConn All-America Ray Allen, who is now considered a booster by the NCAA. When confronted with the call, Benedict alleged that Ollie denied the call was prearranged. In addition the call was not made on Ollie’s phone but on the cellphone of his executive assistant from Ollie’s house. Benedict said using another employee’s phone “further suggests that the call deliberately occurred in a covert manner.”

  • Ollie got a close personal friend named Derrek Hamilton to train some of the players off campus in 2015-16. Several players participated in after-hours, on-campus workouts with Hamilton as well as off-campus workouts. Three players traveled to Atlanta to train with Hamilton and the players were fed, transported and housed for free — all considered NCAA violations. The letter said one of the parents of a player who went to Atlanta even called Ollie to ask if the trip was permissible. Hamilton, reached by The Courant Wednesday, said, “I have nothing to say about that. I have not talked to the NCAA and I don’t really know what’s going on.”

  • The letter then indicates that Ollie downplayed Hamilton’s role with the program and told investigators that no players trained with Hamilton and that Hamilton spent little time on campus. But UConn has hotel records showing Hamilton’s presence on campus as well as that Ollie gave him complimentary tickets to three games.

  • Benedict also said that Ollie failed to report any possible NCAA violations as was his responsibility. “Every violation I am raising was discovered from sources other than you or your staff,” Benedict wrote, adding that in one instance Benedict found out about the impermissible tryout through the media.

  • Benedict also questioned the role of Danny Griffin, a friend of Ollie’s who was brought in as a noncoaching staff member by Ollie. The investigation showed that Griffin had impermissible phone contact with at least two recruits.

Ollie, who’s been on the Huskies’ staff since 2010 and became the head coach in 2012, won NCAA National Championships in 2011 and 2014.

Ollie has hired a lawyer as he seeks to earn the $10 million he’s still owed under his contract, per the AP. Previous UConn coaches like Jim Calhoun were not fired for NCAA violations; however, Ollie’s Huskies have gone just 30-35 over the past two years, creating a motivating factor for the school to want to fire him with cause.