Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun is taking a leave of absence

Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun is taking a leave of absence, effective immediately, due to undisclosed medical issues, the university announced Tuesday afternoon.

“It is my recommendation that coach Calhoun take a medical leave from his coaching position to address some temporary medical issues, none of which involve any previous medical conditions that he has dealt with,” said his physician, Dr. Peter Schulman of the University of Connecticut Health Center.

“Our primary concern is coach Calhoun’s health and his complete recovery. We will do everything possible to support coach during this time. Jim and I both know that the men’s basketball program is in very capable hands under the leadership of associate head coach George Blaney,” UConn athletics director Jeff Hathaway said.

According to UConn spokesperson Kyle Muncy, Cahoun’s leave is neither heart- nor cancer-related and he won’t need to be hospitalized. Calhoun is a three-time cancer survivor.

Muncy said it was too soon to establish a timetable on whether Calhoun will return, presumably this season.

UConn (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today) is 11-6 (2-3 Big East) and has lost three straight. The Huskies’ next game is Wednesday against St. John’s in Hartford and they host No. 1 Texas on Saturday.

Blaney will coach the Huskies on Wednesday and likely will continue until further notice.

Calhoun, 67, has missed all or parts of 21 games during his career due to illness. Last season, he missed a regular-season game against Rutgers and the Huskies’ opening-round NCAA tournament win over Tennessee-Chattanooga.

He missed time in January 2008 from what the team called a combination of stress and exhaustion. Calhoun also said then he’d been suffering from a gastric problem, something he’s had for years.

Later in 2008, he was treated for a second instance of skin cancer. He had surgery to remove a lump in the upper right side of his neck near the jawline and underwent radiation.

Calhoun also missed five games in 2003, when he underwent surgery for prostate cancer.

Calhoun has led UConn to three Final Fours and national championships in 1999 and 2004, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005. He agreed to a five-year contract extension in December that includes the current season, but it is unclear if he ever signed the new deal. His current contract runs out June 30.

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