ARLINGTON — The win happened in North Texas, and it's a win for Oak Cliff.
The UConn Huskies beat Kentucky 60-54 Monday night at AT&T Stadium to win the college basketball national title.
Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie was born in Dallas in December 1972. He didn't stay there long, and he hasn't stayed in any one place very long in his professional career.
Ollie played at UConn from 1991 to 1995, and after two years in the CBA, he played 13 seasons in the NBA for 12 different franchises. His career ended with Oklahoma City in 2010, and would have never lasted that long had he not basically taken on the role of an assistant coach.
Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant said at the time: “Kevin Ollie, he was a game changer for us. I think he changed the whole culture in Oklahoma City. Just his mind set, professionalism, every single day. And we all watched that, and we all wanted to be like that. It rubbed off on Russell Westbrook, myself, Jeff Green, James Harden. And then everybody who comes through now, it’s the standard that you’ve got to live up to as a Thunder player. And it all started with Kevin Ollie."
The culture at UConn didn't require a change. Under former head coach Jim Calhoun, the Huskies had won three national championships since 1999; this is their fourth.
"My coaching staff, my players, all of us UConn," said Ollie after the game on national TV. "My family, all our alumni is here, and that's what it's all about. Coach Calhoun — the greatest coach ever — he paved the way, and we just walked through. So I just want to thank coach, too."
Ollie became the head coach at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season. His first team went 20-10 and didn't play in the NCAA tournament. His second team made history.
Connecticut is the only seven seed to ever win the NCAA title. And UConn now has four national championships in the last 15 years, more than any other college program.
Ollie is the second head coach to win the national title in his first tournament appearance.
Born in Oak Cliff. Forged in Arlington. Kevin Ollie is now a national champion.