Family support for UConn coach helped him through long season

Kevin Ollie

Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Connecticut Huskies head coach Kevin Ollie waves to fans after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats in the Final Four championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on April 7, 2014. (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)



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Posted on April 8, 2014 at 9:33 PM

ARLINGTON — When Connecticut won the NCAA tournament in Arlington Monday, it made a magical night even more special for head coach Kevin Ollie.

He was born in Dallas in 1972 and was able to share the championship with his family.

“It means all the world for his mom and myself," said Ollie's dad, Fletcher Ollie. "She's been through cancer — I have, too — but we're both rolling, and thank him every day. It's a good thing... good thing!”

“It just brought me back to 1972 when I gave birth to him at Methodist Hospital in Dallas," said the coach's mom, Dorothy Ollie. "Just an overwhelming feeling. I'm just bubbling over with joy right now.”

Kevin Ollie credited his family for keeping his life together at a time when things were not going well at home.

“Yeah, spending time with my mother, she just had surgery and she has breast cancer and I know she's fighting,” the coach said. “She kept fighting through chemo for four months. Just to see her make this trip and us win the National Championship and just see her smile is just real special to me.”

Ollie said his wife — who lost her father just four months ago — helped his mother while he was busy preparing the Huskies for a championship run.

“A lot of people didn’t know it, but behind the scenes, we were just holding each other up," Ollie added. "Without my wife, I couldn’t be here this job. For her to lose her father — the man in her life — to lose him and keep lifting me up, keep providing for our family and then take my mother on, driving her to the hospital for appointment after appointment... just a courageous woman. I'm glad she chose me. That's my number one recruit there!"

AT&T Stadium has now crowned an NCAA champion, and three years ago crowned a Super Bowl Champion.

Ollie, who is still a Cowboys fan, hasn't lost hope.

“Now I love Jerry,” the coach said. “We're going to win some. We're going to win some. We'll do it right. I love this building, and hopefully I can some back and see the Cowboys hold it up.”

Cowboys fans are hoping he's right about that.