Rell says Calhoun regrets outburst

Updated: February 24, 2009, 7:21 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun's tirade at a freelance journalist posing questions about the his $1.6 million salary was an "embarrassing display," the state's governor said Tuesday.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she believes Calhoun regrets the outburst directed at Ken Krayeske, who questioned the veteran coach about his salary after a game Saturday.

"I think if Coach Calhoun had the opportunity right now, he would welcome a do-over and not have that embarrassing display from last week," Rell said after meeting with local college officials and business leaders.

Rell said Calhoun's whole tone was embarrassing.

Calhoun hasn't spoken with the media since the tirade. A call seeking comment from the university was not immediately returned. The No. 2 Huskies' next game is at Marquette (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) on Wednesday.

Krayeske, a freelancer and political activist, attended the game on a photo press pass and asked the first question of the coach's postgame news conference following a 64-50 win over South Florida. He asked why the coach of a public university was making $1.6 million while the state has a $944 million deficit and a projected $8 billion shortfall over the next two years.

Calhoun first responded with a joke, then grew angry as Krayeske continued the line of questioning.

"My best advice to you is, shut up," Calhoun said.

"Quite frankly, we bring in $12 million to the university, nothing to do with state funds," Calhoun shouted. "We make $12 million a year for this university. Get some facts and come back and see me. ... Don't throw out salaries and other things."

Calhoun has won two national titles at UConn. He is the state's highest-paid employee and is set to make $1.6 million in 2009-10, the final year of his contract.

Rell has had her own run-in with Krayeske, who was arrested in January 2007 at the governor's inaugural parade. Hartford police charged Krayeske with breach of peace and interfering with an officer when he stepped into the parade route. The charges were later dismissed.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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