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 DETROIT (AP) -Every time he's asked about when he might retire, Jim Calhoun cites some advice from former North Carolina coach Dean Smith.
``Dean Smith and I sat on a plane, and I asked him why he got out of coaching,'' the Connecticut coach said. ``He said, 'I got out of coaching because of the other stuff. I still can coach basketball.' But then he said, 'Don't make any decisions after a bad season or a great season, and give yourself some time.' ``
How much more time will Calhoun give himself?
The Huskies' Hall of Famer said Thursday he's not thinking about retiring. But there's been increasing speculation about his future as Calhoun has dealt with cancer and allegations of NCAA recruiting violations in the last 12 months.
back to last summer when I went through some medical problems.''
He can't help but worry what next year will bring.
``What we all do, because we're human beings, we rationalize that next year won't be like this,'' said Calhoun, who turns 67 next month. ``And you know what? Next year keeps getting tougher and tougher and tougher because of all the other things besides coming off the pick and roll, ball screens, trapping in the short corner.''
Calhoun spoke to a handful of reporters in the Huskies' dressing room in the bowels of Ford Field, where they'll take on Michigan State in the national semifinals Saturday.
Few of the questions were about how the Huskies (31-4) will attack the Spartans (30-6). Instead, they focused on the toll the last year has taken on Calhoun, who is two victories away from his third national title.
Last summer, Calhoun underwent radiation treatments for skin cancer, his third bout with cancer. The treatment left him cancer-free but weaker and 20 pounds lighter, but he was on the floor when practice opened in the fall.
Last month, Calhoun missed the Huskies' opening game in the NCAA tournament after being hospitalized with dehydration.
Last week, Calhoun had to answer questions about reports alleging that his program had violated NCAA recruiting rules.
why I think it's special being here for us.''
Calhoun motioned to the quiet dressing room, where the Huskies' reserves sat in front of their locker stalls and his assistant coaches chatted in a corner. The starters were giving interviews in another part of the stadium.
``I want it for this team. It sounds corny and all that, but I do, because I needed them very badly in the fall,'' Calhoun said. ``They didn't know how much I needed them, because I wanted to get back. It took me 27 pounds, 63 stitches and all that radiation, all the things I went through, and I felt terrible, and (doctors) told me I would.''
Calhoun declined to discuss the reports alleging his program violated NCAA rules during the recruitment of Nate Miles. Calhoun said he's tried to be a buffer between his players and ``the other stuff.''
It's fair to ask whether ``the other stuff'' might drive him away, because it's not going to go away any time soon.
Calhoun sometimes has a short fuse, but he kept his cool during a news conference last week in Glendale, Ariz., when a reporter asked if the coach had become a distraction to his team.
``It was very difficult,'' Calhoun said. ``I think I still have a couple of (marks) from biting my tongue.''
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