The last time the UConn men’s basketball team visited the White House, the huskies had company.
On June 9, 2014, in the East Room, President Barack Obama stood center stage with the UConn National Championship trophy on the left and the second on the right. Behind him, the stage was filled with Huskies, men and women.
“I must say that one of my goals as CEO was to eliminate waste and eliminate duplication of programs to increase efficiency, but this may go a little too far.” the former president saidcausing a collective chuckle in the room.
This year, the UConn women went to a perfect 40-0 and won their second consecutive title, which ended with a four-straight series. The men, led by “new blood” Kevin Ollie, as President Obama called him, finished the season with a 32-8 record and advanced in the NCAA Tournament, finishing 7th.
“Now I must also confess that I did not choose the men to win in my compartment. Of course, neither did anyone else, unless you went to UConn,” the former president joked.
The Huskies will return to that familiar spot at 5 p.m. Friday, the men alone this time with Dan Hurley, now “new blood,” and President Joe Biden speaking.
The current president took to Twitter to congratulate the Huskies the next morning after they defeated fifth seed San Diego State, 76-59, in Houston to win the title.
“(UConn men’s basketball) has returned to glory with a string of dominant performances that have often been amazing to watch,” he tweeted from his official POTUS account.
The president later called Hurley to congratulate him on his first championship, but original call the call went unanswered on Hurley’s side. UConn’s fifth-year head coach told The Athletic he was on the phone with the Class of 2024 recruit and never saw him answer another call, but President Biden left a voicemail.
The phone game finally ended and the date was set for the male program’s fifth visit to the White House since 1999. Jim Calhoun brought his teams in 1999, 2004 and 2011 and listened to comments from Presidents Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush (who also had a double dose of Husky) and President Obama.
LSU’s women’s basketball team and star Angel Reese, cousin of predicted first-choice Jordan Hawkins, will also be honored by President Biden on Friday.