Jim Calhoun Leads D3 School To First Ever Conference Championship

Sometimes, the best stories don’t always come out of Division I sports. Division II and Division III sports don’t get the recognition that they should at times. This comes from a former DIII athlete. Jim Calhoun is proving that day by day as he continues to be the head coach at the University of St. Joseph. It is a small DIII in West Hartford, Connecticut. The St. Joseph’s men’s basketball team recently won their first GNAC championship this past weekend.

Jim Calhoun’s History at UCONN

Jim Calhoun was once at the Division I level at UCONN. We all know he had some elite level players that made it to the NBA. The man won three National Championships in 1999, 2004, and 2011. Not to mention, he won seven Big East titles for good measure. He knew what he was doing at UCONN. Sure, there were some accusations of recruiting violations and he took a break to focus on his health. But, it doesn’t take away from what he did with his time in the Huskies program.

Who is the University of St. Joseph?

The University of St. Joseph is a private school that has around 2,500 students per school year. The school was all girls until 2016. The basketball program didn’t exist until two years ago. Calhoun is the first men’s basketball coach ever in the history of the school. They are a part of the Greater Northeast Athletic Conference (the same conference I played in my first two seasons of college baseball) which features schools such as Suffolk University, Johnson and Wales University, and St Joseph’s College of Maine. No matter what conference or level it is, Calhoun knows how to develop a winning tradition.

The Program is Still Fairly New

Like I mentioned above, this is St. Joseph’s SECOND year of existence. SECOND! Think about how crazy that is. With all of the recruiting and making sure they have practice time, facility space, etc., you’d think the program would struggle out of the gate. But with Calhoun leading the way, they’re knocking off top seeds. They defeated Albertus Magnus College, located in Connecticut, in the GNAC championship game. Albertus is usually the top school in the conference for basketball year in and year out. That’s a huge win for Calhoun’s squad. Now, they get to go dancing in the NCAA Division III national tournament. Not bad for the second year Blue Jays.

In Conclusion

Congratulations to the Blue Jays. It’s very hard to win when you’re a young program. But with a former DI coach at the helm, it’s certainly an advantage in your favor. Sure, the NCAA DI tournament will be fun to watch per usual. But if you’re looking for something a little different to root for, here’s your team. Jim Calhoun stays winning. That’s how good of a basketball coach the man has become. No matter what the level, he finds a way to win. Jim Calhoun, we salute you!

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-Al Nahigian (@BigAl2793)

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