LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Every year after the MLB All-Star Game, there is an unusual day in which none of the four major North American sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) have a game on the schedule. Thankfully, the ESPY Awards are always there to fill the void and this Wednesday night, July 10th, University of Saint Joseph (USJ) head men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun will be there to receive the Best Coach/Manager Award.
The Best Coach/Manager Award has been presented annually since 1993 and for most of ESPYs history, it was voted on by fans as a Coach/Manager of the Year award, producing recipients such as Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson, Bill Belichick, and Joe Torre. However, in 2017, producers chose a new direction for the honor and the show now recognizes coaches whose career dedication to the job exceeds yearly wins, losses, and championships.
In 2017, ESPN gave the nod to legendary New Jersey high school coach Bob Hurley and last year it went to three Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School coaches who died in the tragic mass shooting there. According to ESPYs executive producer Maura Mandt, it is awarded to someone who represents "the epitome of a coach" and it hopes to recognize not only Coach Calhoun's accomplishments but also his commitment to coaching.
"I'm honored by it. They have a lot of people they could choose," Calhoun told the Hartford Courant in an interview last month. "This is like looking back and saying, 'That guy Calhoun, he yelled and screamed a lot and was tough and fought like crazy, but there might have been a method to his madness to some degree that he really cares about the kids."
Calhoun most recently finished his 41st season as a collegiate head coach, guiding the Blue Jays to a 16-12 mark and GNAC championship game appearance in their inaugural season in 2018-19. Prior to USJ, he spent 26 years at the University of Connecticut, highlighted by three national championships, and the previous 14 years at Northeastern University.
Calhoun sports a career record of 889-392, which currently ranks fourth among Division I head coaches and 11th on the all-division list. He passed legendary coaches Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith last season and is 13 wins away from catching Bob Knight.
In addition to Coach Calhoun receiving the Best Coach/Manager Award, other major award winners include Kirstie Ennis (Pat Tillman Award for Service), Bill Russell (Arthur Ashe Award for Courage), and Rob Mendez (Jimmy V Award for Perseverance).
The 27th annual ESPY Awards, presented by Capitol One, will take place at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and air at 8:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday night on ABC. This year's host and emcee is actor/comedian Tracy Morgan. Fans who can't tune in on TV, the ceremony can also be streamed on ABC.com, the ABC app or Hulu.
Prior to the actual award show there will be three hours of live pre-show coverage. The night will be kicked off with the ESPYs red carpet at 5:00 p.m. ET, which will be available to watch on ESPN2 and will then be carried over to ESPN from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. The official @ESPYS Twitter account will also livestream the red carpet arrivals for free and be sure to follow @USJ_BlueJays on Twitter and Instagram for behind the scenes access and updates.