So, he was a gruff, surly, pretentious, overbearing jerk of a guy at times.

So, he offended others as easily with a sneer or condescending stare as he did with a demeaning comment.

So ... big deal.

The guy offered arguably the most classic soundbyte in all of sports history ... and, oh, yeah, he also happened to be one of the game's greatest coaches.

Indeed, when Jim Calhoun officially steps down today as the men's basketball coach at the University of Connecticut, there is no denying the career, the success, he has carved out.

Nestled among the trees in New England, Storrs wasn't exactly a national hotbed for hoops when the fiery Massachusetts arrived there in 1986. It soon became one, as his Huskies emerged as a power in the Big East and then, ultimately, the pre-eminent program in the country's top conference.

Along the way at UConn, he racked 618 wins and three NCAA championships. He also sent 27 players to the NBA, a testament to the recruiting pipeline he created to eastern Connecticut from all points.

Already inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005, Calhoun only seemed to be adding to his legacy - with wins (866 total in Division I, including 248 in 14 years at Northeastern, to rank sixth all-time behind Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Knight, Jim Boeheim, Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp) and possible national championships, his last coming in 2011.

His teams were talented and seemed to embody the toughness their coach emitted.

He also added some flavor to the mix. Entertaining? You betcha. Never one to be shy with his thoughts, Calhoun rattled off the infamous "get some facts and come back and see me" in heated fashion when responding to a reporter's query about his salary back in 2009.

Healthy, however, had been an issue for him for years, beginning with prostate cancer in 2003. After that, it was squamous cell carcinoma in 2008, five broken ribs suffered during a bike accident in 2009, an unannounced condition that sidelined him for a month in 2010, then spinal stenosis in 2012 and, finally, a left hip fracture last month.

Perhaps NCAA sanctions that would keep the Huskies from participating in the NCAA tournament this coming season made the decision to retire that much easier. Who knows?

There is no denying the impact, though, that Calhoun had on college basketball while creating one of the dynastic programs in all of the sport at UConn.

He leaves the program in good hands with former Huskies standout Kevin Ollie, one of those 27 NBA products, expected to take over.

But first, Calhoun will bid adieu ... likely with a wise comment or two.

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