Nov. 9, 2012
RAMSTEIN, Germany --- New UConn head basketball Coach Kevin Ollie is finding out there a lot more facets to his job than coaching a group of players on the court.
Especially when he is making his debut on national TV in the first-ever Armed Forces Classic, in the first NCAA game ever played in Europe, in a game that is honoring our military personnel by taking place on an American Air Base in Southwest Germany, and just happens to be against a team ranked No. 14 in the preseason polls.
Although Friday is game day for the Huskies to face Michigan State in their season opener, it was still a busy day for the UConn head coach, starting with a meet-and-greet of the airmen and women by he and his team at Appreciation Day on the Ramstein Air Base.
The Huskies then went through an hour shootaround on the game court, in a converted hangar that will seat some 3,100 for Friday night’s game.
Ollie then appeared with veteran Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo on a segment of SportsCenter with ESPN anchors Hannah Storm and Kevin Negandhi in another converted hangar on the base, watched live by military personnel that filled the specially-constructed bleachers.
After the segment, Ollie and Izzo spent time visiting with the troops, posing for photos with them, signing autographs, and accepting well-wishes.
Ollie’s day also includes a VIP function at the base Officers Club in the early evening before he can get back to the team hotel and begin to get his game face on.
Finally, the game will be played at 6:09 p.m. EST (12:09 a.m. in Germany) on ESPN. Some five hours after the conclusion of the game, the UConn travel party will be on its way home, expected to arrive in Storrs late Saturday night.