Competitiveness key to Calhoun's success 

September, 13, 2012

Jim CalhounStreeter Lecka/Getty ImagesJim Calhoun was a fierce competitor in his 26 years at UConn.
When I took over a downtrodden St. John's program in 1996, I wanted to compete with the top programs in the Big East as quickly as possible. So, the best model I could think of copying was Jim Calhoun's Connecticut Huskies program because they were the "bully on the block" and I admired their toughness.

But I didn't exactly endear myself to the veteran coach when, during my second season, I said that I liked UConn -- and that it played with the arrogance of its coach. While meant to be a compliment -- backhanded, maybe -- Calhoun was not happy and let me know about it. But it was my way of saying, "We want to be like you."