Former UConn Huskies coach and 13-year NBA veteran Kevin Ollie has been hired as head coach and director of player development for the Overtime Elite, a new professional basketball league for top prospects between 16 and 18 years old.
"I'm ready to get back to what I was born to do: empowering and encouraging and supporting young people, and helping them grow," Ollie said in a statement. "There's no better place for me to do that than OTE, an extraordinary league for extraordinary young men. I consider it my mission to help these elite athletes realize their dreams."
Ollie will work with Brandon Williams, Overtime Elite's executive VP and head of basketball operations, to assemble what's expected to be a 40-person operations staff, including coaches, sports science and performance personnel, trainers and counselors to work with young players. Ollie won a national championship as UConn's coach in 2014, and Williams is a former NBA player and front-office executive with Philadelphia and Sacramento.
"Kevin has the leadership skills necessary to deliver on our goal: the holistic development of the athlete who is better prepared for the next level," Williams said in a statement.
The OTE's plan is to offer six-figure financial packages and an academic tutoring component for high school players to compete against prep school and international teams in a year-round training program. The league's model would allow for players to share in prospective revenue from name, image and likeness and sales of custom jerseys, trading cards and non-fungible tokens. These players would lose college eligibility but be able to advance toward the G League and NBA draft in a more basketball-intensive environment.
After winning a national title in his second season as coach at his alma mater in 2014, Ollie advanced to one more NCAA tournament before an acrimonious departure in 2018 because of an NCAA investigation. Ollie filed a suit against UConn to recoup $10 million in back pay, a process that has gone to arbitration.
This is Ollie's first basketball job since leaving UConn three years ago. Before becoming the fourth Black coach to win a Division I NCAA men's basketball title, Ollie, 48, had a stellar NBA playing career, rising from an undrafted guard into a solid backup guard for 11 NBA teams.
Ollie built a strong reputation for mentoring young stars on his teams in the league, including LeBron James in Cleveland and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City. Ollie turned down an NBA head-coaching job with the Brooklyn Nets early in his UConn tenure.