University of Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun will announce his retirement today. For me, it's a personal story.
I grew up very close to UConn, where my father is a professor. My brothers and I grew up going to UConn games in the 1980s, when the team wasn't particularly good. Until Calhoun arrived, that is. In 1988, they won the NIT title, and it seemed like an amazing accomplishment at the time.
Two years later, Calhoun led them in what would be the "Dream Season." I was 10 years old. They entered the 1989-90 season unranked, expected to be a middle-of-the-pack team in the Big East with an outside shot at the NCAA Tournament, which they hadn't made in the previous 10 seasons. Instead, they won 31 games and their first Big East championship. They earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The 31st win was the sweetest though.
They were facing No. 4 seed Clemson and, for most of the game, were hammering the Tigers. UConn led by as many as 19 before Clemson went on an amazing run. The lead dwindled down to two points before a UConn turnover gave Clemson the ball. The Tigers' David Young nailed a three to give Clemson the lead. Tate George, the leader of that UConn team, missed a jumper with four seconds left and UConn had to foul.
Clemson missed the free throw, giving UConn the ball with exactly 1.0 second left. I was already crying uncontrollably thinking the Huskies' season was over when... well, watch the video. And watch Calhoun at the 4:25 mark. It's my favorite sports memory ever.