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UConn coach Calhoun says he still wants to coach

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun would not commit to coaching beyond this season, even though his 3½-week medical leave of absence did nothing to diminish his desire to coach basketball.

"I started with this team and I want to finish with this team in the sense that we started something together," Calhoun said Friday in his first public remarks since taking a doctor-ordered leave of absence on Jan. 18.

"I never have given any indication, I don't think, that I don't want to be at UConn or coaching basketball," he said.

The Hall of Fame coach, who returned to work Thursday, refused to detail the medical condition that caused him to take time off, but said it was not cancer or cardiac related.

"In this particular case, I went to my doctor and he said, 'Yeah, there is a little something wrong, it's temporary. We can take care of it and we will.'"

Calhoun typically decides whether he will continue to coach during the summer, and said that policy has not changed. He added that his focus is now on this season and helping the Huskies finish strong.

UConn (14-10, 4-7) hosts Cincinnati (14-9, 5-6) on Saturday.

Calhoun left the team at the end of a three-game losing streak. After associate head coach George Blaney took over, the team won two in a row, including an upset of then No. 1 Texas. But since that game, the Huskies are just 1-4.

Calhoun said he was at home during his leave, and watched each game. He said he saw things on television that he thinks can be corrected.

"All it was, was a lot of anguish of wanting to be back and trying to relax to get back," he said. "I was able to get back and I feel good my job now is to finish the season out and we'll go from there."

His players said Calhoun gave them an earful upon his return, especially about hustle and effort and not taking plays off during games.

"He's still the same old coach," forward Gavin Edwards said.

Calhoun spoke to the media for about 12 minutes Friday, and spent several of those complaining about officiating. He said he watched a lot of basketball while sitting at home and came to the conclusion that officials work too many games, and don't watch enough tape.

Calhoun has won two national championships at Connecticut and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005. UConn has a record of 20-8 in games that Calhoun has missed all or part of in his 24 seasons leading the Huskies.

He guided the Huskies to the Final Four last season, but missed their first NCAA tournament game in March after being hospitalized for dehydration.

Last June, he was hospitalized after breaking several ribs during a charity bike ride.

Several other off-the-court issues had prompted questions about Calhoun's future, including an investigation into the school's recruitment of former player Nate Miles. Calhoun has acknowledged that he or his staff might have made mistakes in recruiting Miles.

It is not clear when that investigation will be completed. UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway has said the NCAA and school are in the middle of the review and had no other comment.

Last month, Calhoun said a new multiyear contract with UConn was "just on the horizon." He is making $1.6 million in the final year of a six-year deal.

Sophomore guard Kemba Walker said he doesn't think Calhoun has any plans to retire.

"He loves the game so much. He loves this university so much," Walker said. "His passion for the game is huge, so yeah, I think he'll be back."