The NCAA Men's Basketball champions, the University of Connecticut Huskies, took over the White House for a few hours this week. Lead by head coach Jim Calhoun, team members offered some Washington middle school students a shooting clinic on the White House basketball court just beyond the Rose Garden on the South Lawn.
In the post season, UConn is facing sanctions for recruiting violations and concerns over the team's academic lethargy in its graduation rate. Calhoun, a Braintree, Mass., native with roots in Donegal, spoke passionately about the program after giving President Barack Obama a personalized UConn team jersey.
"I love my program, I love our kids and I'm very comfortable with myself," said Calhoun when asked whether issues off the court dimmed any of the euphoria over capturing his third national championship and third trip to meet the president.
"I know who I am; I don't have any regrets. I've made mistakes, well I'm a human being and I'm Irish. Us Irish will talk about our mistakes more than others may.
"In life, you're going to make a few mistakes as long as you learn from them and as long as you don't let other people effect how you conduct your business."
Calhoun insisted that he never let anyone on the outside effect this team in winning the national championship.
At 68, he is the oldest coach to win a the NCAA Mens' title. He did not say whether he would return to coach in the fall. Calhoun did offer a ringing endorsement of President Obama and even borrowed a signature campaign line during the ceremony, "Who would have thought maybe nine months ago we would be here? But you know what? Yes, we can!"