Calhoun misses first-round game

Updated: March 20, 2009, 10:18 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- Connecticut Huskies coach Jim Calhoun remained in a Philadelphia-area hospital on Friday morning, a day after after missing the top-seeded Huskies' easy victory over Chattanooga in their opening round of the NCAA tournament.

"I have been feeling lousy for the past several days and this morning talked to Dr. [Jeff] Anderson [UConn director of sports medicine] about it," Calhoun said Thursday in a statement released by the school. "He recommended that I not coach in the game today and stay back at the hotel. As the day went on, he suggested that we go over to the hospital to have some testing done. Fortunately those tests have all gone well and I am feeling much better.

"I will stay the night as a precaution and anticipate being checked again in the morning and being able to leave the hospital at that time," Calhoun said.

A source told ESPN.com that Calhoun, 66, was treated for dehydration and received IV fluids at the hospital. Anderson and the school did not say what was wrong with the coach.

UConn would not speculate on whether Calhoun would be available to coach the Huskies, the No. 1 seed in the West Regional, for the rest of the tournament. He ran UConn's practice Wednesday in Philadelphia and had attended the team's news conference. Associate head coach George Blaney coached the Huskies on Thursday in Calhoun's absence.

[+] EnlargeJim Calhoun
AP Photo/Matt RourkeJim Calhoun, shown running practice on Wednesday, did not coach the Huskies in their first-round victory.

"Jim was fine at dinner last night. He woke up this morning and didn't feel well," said Tim Tolokan, UConn's former sports information director and a close friend of Calhoun's.

Calhoun's son, Jeff, was at Wachovia Center and said his father urged him to watch the Texas A&M-BYU game, which the Aggies won 79-66.

"If it was anything serious, I wouldn't be here," Jeff Calhoun said. "He told me to come, which he would have said anyway, but I felt very comfortable being here."

The team was not informed of its coach's situation Thursday until it arrived at the Wachovia Center.

Calhoun missed time in January 2008 with what the team called a combination of stress and exhaustion. The coach also said then he'd been suffering from a gastric problem, something he's had for years.

The Huskies were loose in pregame warmups and Blaney smiled as he shook hands with the referees and other coaches. Blaney was introduced as UConn's head coach during introductions and he shook hands with Chattanooga coach John Shulman.

Blaney coached Holy Cross for 22 years and led the Crusaders to three NCAA tournaments.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said he was sorry to hear Calhoun was missing the game.

"This is, I think, a special team for him," Huggins said from Minneapolis. "It's a shame he's not able to go out and coach because I know he loves coaching them."

This is the third NCAA tournament game Calhoun has missed. In the two previous instances, UConn went on to win the national title.

In 1999, Calhoun missed a first-round game against Texas-San Antonio. In 2004, he left a second-round game against DePaul after becoming ill. He returned just in time to see the end of UConn's 72-55 victory.

Calhoun has missed 21 games in his career, including one other game this season -- a Jan. 3 contest against Rutgers.

Last May, the Hall of Fame coach was treated for a second bout of skin cancer. He had surgery to remove a lump in the upper right side of his neck near the jaw line and underwent radiation.

Calhoun missed five games in 2003, when he underwent surgery for prostate cancer.

UConn spokesperson Kyle Muncy reiterated that Calhoun hadn't been feeling well in recent days and that speculation on any causes of his absence was not appropriate.

"I'm not trying to make light of the situation," said Muncy, "but he has missed games before."

ESPN.com's Andy Katz and Dana O'Neil and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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