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With National Title, UConn Rose Above Athletic Department Deficit

  • The UConn Huskies won their fifth men’s basketball championship on Monday.
  • UConn has faced adversity on the court and at the bank.
Apr 3, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies players celebrate after defeating the San Diego State Aztecs in the national championship game of the 2023 NCAA Tournament at NRG Stadium.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday night, the UConn Huskies won their fifth national championship in program history after a decisive 76-59 win against San Diego State at NRG Stadium in Houston.

The program has reached new heights of NCAA men’s basketball: Only three other D-I programs have won more titles than the Huskies.

But it’s been almost a decade since the Huskies won their last title. Over the past several years, they’ve faced major adversity on the court and at the bank. 

Head coach Dan Hurley took the reins in 2018 after the Huskies suffered a losing season. Then, in the summer of 2019, the school announced it had accepted a bid to rejoin the Big East — a conference it had left in 2013. 

  • The program was not only looking for a better fit for its basketball-centric school but also helping with ailing finances in the American Athletic Conference.
  • In 2019, the athletic department faced a $42 million shortfall due to coaching contract buyouts and travel costs in the AAC.
  • The school also had to pay a $17 million AAC exit fee and $3.5 million in a Big East entrance fee.

Hurley returned the program to its former glory with the “much-needed jolt” of returning to Big East basketball in 2020. 

But while the men’s basketball program sits atop the NCAA, the UConn athletic department is still reeling. 

The program reported a $53 million deficit for the 2022 fiscal year, spending $13.4 million on a buyout for former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie, who coached the school’s last national title team in 2014.

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