UConn, ex-coach Kevin Ollie agree to $3.9m settlement, ending a five-year long legal battle

After a long and grueling legal battle, the University of Connecticut (UConn) has settled with former basketball head coach Kevin Ollie for $3.9million, with Ollie claiming reputational damages and attorneys fees.

Ollie, a former UConn point guard, was fired by UConn in 2018 after two consecutive losing seasons, the first time since the teams of the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons to do so. Despite this, Ollie left with a 127-79 record.   

In 2014, both the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams won the national championship, becoming the only school in history to do so. They accomplished the same feat back in 2004. 

Ollie led the Huskies’ men’s team to the title over Kentucky 60-54 that year, winning the school its fourth title for men’s basketball and becoming the first and only 7 seed to win the NCAA Tournament. 

Ollie and the school released a joint statement Thursday saying this settlement resolved, ‘all outstanding matters related to his former employment with the University of Connecticut and to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.’

UConn and former head men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie have agreed to a $3.9m settlement

UConn and former head men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie have agreed to a $3.9m settlement

That ended the possibility of Ollie filing a federal race discrimination suit against his alma mater. 

‘I am grateful that we were able to reach [an] agreement,’ Ollie’s statement read.

‘My time at UConn as a student athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.’ 

UConn dismissed Ollie after an NCAA investigation into alleged violations centered around pick-up games not counting toward allowable team activities, impermissible coaching instruction, and a booster providing benefits to student-athletes.

Ollie was fired in 2018 by the school for just cause after an NCAA investigation found violations

Ollie was fired in 2018 by the school for just cause after an NCAA investigation found violations

The NCAA vacated 30 wins from UConn’s official record as a result of the investigation. Additionally, the school was put on two years probation and Ollie was put on a show-cause order that effectively prevented him from coaching college basketball up until this past July.

This past January, an arbitrator ruled that UConn improperly fired Ollie and ordered the school to give him more than $11m in back pay.

Ollie is currently coaching with Overtime Elite, a league for prospects not going to college but wish to make the NBA.  

Ollie became head coach of the Huskies in 2012, after legendary coach Jim Calhoun retired from coaching.

Ollie replaced legendary head coach Jim Calhoun, who retired in September of 2012

Ollie replaced legendary head coach Jim Calhoun, who retired in September of 2012

UConn couldn't make the tournament in 2013 due to a postseason ban, but came back in 2014

UConn couldn’t make the tournament in 2013 due to a postseason ban, but came back in 2014

His first season saw UConn banned from the postseason stemming from NCAA violations under Calhoun. That ban saw numerous transfers of previously important contributors. Despite the circumstances, UConn went 20-10 that season, their last one in the Big East Conference under Ollie.

The following season – their first in the newly formed, less-prestigious American Athletic Conference – UConn finished with an even better 32-8 record. Led by senior guard and future NBA player Shabazz Napier, a 7 seed UConn team knocked out three of the top-4 seeds in their region to make their 5th ever Final Four.

There, they beat No. 1 overall seed Florida – who they had beaten at home earlier that season – before defeating Kentucky in the championship.

Ollie became just the fourth Black head coach to ever win an NCAA title. He also became one of two head coaches to win an NCAA title in their first ever tournament since the field expanded to 64 teams.

Led by star point guard Shabazz Napier (R), Ollie and the Huskies made a run to the Final Four

Led by star point guard Shabazz Napier (R), Ollie and the Huskies made a run to the Final Four

After downing Florida alongside players like Ryan Boatright (L), Napier, Ollie and UConn won over Kentucky for the school's fourth title for men's basketball in their history

After downing Florida alongside players like Ryan Boatright (L), Napier, Ollie and UConn won over Kentucky for the school’s fourth title for men’s basketball in their history

UConn celebrated two basketball national titles - for both men's and women's basketball- in 2014 and they remain the only school to have accomplished that feat. They've done it twice.

UConn celebrated two basketball national titles – for both men’s and women’s basketball- in 2014 and they remain the only school to have accomplished that feat. They’ve done it twice.

UConn experienced a decline following the title victory as Ollie struggled to recruit well in a new conference. 

The team only made the NCAA tournament once during the rest of Ollie’s tenure, falling in the second round of the 2016 edition.

In the 2016-17 season, Ollie produced UConn’s first losing season in 30 years – the first year Calhoun coached in Storrs – going 16-17. The 2017-18 campaign saw another decline to a 14-18 record.

Two days after a loss to SMU in the American Athletic Conference Tournament, Ollie was fired for just cause, with the university citing the NCAA investigation.

After the 2014 title, UConn faltered, claiming two losing records and leading to Ollie's firing

After the 2014 title, UConn faltered, claiming two losing records and leading to Ollie’s firing

source: dailymail.co.uk