HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -Few Connecticut residents are calling foul on UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun's recent outburst to a blogger who pressed him on his $1.6 million annual salary.
More than three of every five Connecticut residents surveyed in a new Quinnipiac University poll say Calhoun, the highest-paid public employee in the state, should keep his entire salary rather than donate a portion to help ease Connecticut's fiscal problems.
Eighty percent also said he should not be disciplined for his angry response to freelance journalist and political activist Ken Krayeske, who questioned Calhoun about his salary at a Feb. 21 post-game press conference.
Calhoun had a 68 percent favorability rating in the Quinnipiac poll results released Wednesday. Only 12 percent described their opinion of him as unfavorable.
Douglas Schwartz, the poll's director, said politicians would love to have Calhoun's level of support.
``You might think based on headlines about the issue that there'd be more of a negative reaction,'' he said. ``This poll says that when it comes to how people feel about Calhoun, the positives are pretty strong.''
Calhoun's 68 percent approval rating far outpaced those of U.S. senators Joe Lieberman and Christopher Dodd, though Gov. M. Jodi Rell's approval rating is higher.
The third-ranked Huskies, playing this week in the Big East tournament, are contending for a third national title under Calhoun. Kyle Muncy, a spokesman for UConn's athletics department, said Wednesday that neither Calhoun nor the department would be responding to the poll results.
The poll came after the press conference in which Krayeske questioned whether Calhoun's salary was appropriate amid Connecticut's spending cuts, anticipated budget shortfalls and other fiscal problems. Calhoun lost his temper and angrily told Krayeske to ``shut up.'' Rell later called it an ``embarrassing display,'' and two state lawmakers called for Calhoun to be disciplined.
The coach's salary is ``about right,'' according to 48 percent of those surveyed, while 43 percent said it is too high. Fifty-one percent approved of the way Calhoun answered the question, while 43 percent disapproved.
Calhoun, who has two national titles, is in the final year of his contract.
onships to Storrs, recently signed a five-year deal that begins July 1 and will give him an average annual salary of $1.6 million. Connecticut football coach Randy Edsall signed a five-year deal a year ago that pays him an average of $1.5 million per year. The poll did not ask about the salaries paid to Auriemma or Edsall.
The telephone survey of 1,335 people was conducted from March 3 to March 8, and has a sampling error margin of 2.7 percentage points.
---
On the Net:
Poll results: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1296.xml?ReleaseID1273

NCAAB Headlines

NCAAB Top Stories

Thumbnail Miami vs. Duke Prediction No. 18 Duke has lost back-to-back games but will the Blue Devils cover when they host Miami at 7:15PM ET?
Thumbnail Stanford vs. Oregon Prediction No. 11 Oregon hosts Stanford at 6:00PM ET tonight - will the game be low-scoring for bettors?
Thumbnail South Carolina vs. Kentucky Pick No. 24 South Carolina will be in Lexington this evening when it visits No. 5 Kentucky at 6:00PM ET. Will the Wildcats cover?
Thumbnail West Virginia vs. Kansas State Pick No. 7 West Virginia lost to Oklahoma at home earlier this week but will the Mountaineers rebound versus Kansas State tonight at 6:00PM ET?
Thumbnail Arizona vs. UCLA Pick Can No. 14 Arizona put a crack in the armor of No. 3 UCLA when the two meet today at 4PM ET?

NCAAB Team Pages