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Kevin Ollie on playing games in Bridgeport: ‘It’s about more than basketball’

Oct 8, 2013, 7:45 PM EDT

Kevin Ollie

Throughout much of this past summer, officials at the University of Connecticut and at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport have been in talks of bringing both Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball to the city.

On Monday morning, a press conference was held at the WBA to announce that a partnership had officially been made between the arena and university. The Fairfield men’s basketball team already plays its home games at the arena, but bringing Husky basketball — the premier college basketball program in New England — to Bridgeport may prove to be more than just entertainment.

It’s not secret that Bridgeport is one of not only the toughest cities in Connecticut, but on the East coast — high school graduation rates are low and crime and gangs run rampant.

Kevin Duffy of the Connecticut Post wrote:

“We can all agree on this: Kids here need role models. They need role models from within the community, and they could sure use a positive, respected voice from the outside. We can agree on this, too: There are some terrific role models at UConn, some powerful speakers with inspiring stories that could resonate with Bridgeport youth. We can all agree that the partnership between the Huskies and Bridgeport shouldn’t be limited to a single basketball game in December.”

Kevin Ollie is clearly on board with bringing Connecticut basketball to Bridgeport, but having it be more than merely a 40 minute game.

Ollie’s slogan has been: “It’s about more than basketball.”

The second-year coach is following through with that sentiment. Ollie said: “There’s a lot of initiative we’re trying to put out right now in Hartford. Just telling (the kids) there are different things you need to do — just respecting yourself and respecting others and going to school and getting your education.”

The first game slated to be played in Bridgeport is on December 28th against Eastern Washington.

Don’t be surprised going forward if Connecticut continues to expand their brand to other corners of the state, and is engaging the youth of the community in more ways than just basketball.

  1. shen90 - Oct 10, 2013 at 1:28 AM

    This is something I have to commend Uconn and Kevin Ollie on. They want to win games and national titles but they also understand the true purpose of college athletics and really care about the community. College athletics when it began had nothing to with with trying to make money. It was a way to provide higher learning to those who would have difficulty paying for it otherwise. Those on and running the teams simply looked to provide entertainment, role models, and an escape for a couple of hours from the outside world. They were not self-absorbed fools only out for themselves.

  2. shafted1 - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Kevin Ollie has a superb understanding of the concept of collegiate sports. And what better platform to operate from than the legacy of UConn basketball!

    Hoping UConn and Memphis share a common destination in future realignment. Like-minded coaches leading quality programs for the benefit of youths in their respective communities!

  3. jytlm - Oct 11, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    It’s cool UConn is doing this, but if it’s already where Fairfield plays, why not just play Fairfield?

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