Effort pays off for Kevin Ollie

One of the hottest names in the coaching fraternity is Kevin Ollie of Connecticut. His stock is way, way up, and he has earned it by rolling up his sleeves and working hard to prove he deserved the head coaching job with the Huskies.

Ollie has been a fierce competitor and a guy who has paid his dues. He busted his gut from the time he arrived as a player at UConn until now. He has done things the right way in pursuit of his goals and dreams. Even during his 13 seasons in the NBA, he had to consistently prove himself to get his next one-year contract. Everywhere he went, all of his teammates loved him.

When you listen to some of the comments from Kevin Durant, Reggie Miller and other guys who played with Ollie, they rave about him. They loved his ability to communicate and get along with people.

Winning a national championship in his first season of eligibility at Connecticut (the Huskies were banned from the Big Dance in 2013 because of a prior low APR) opened a lot of eyes. You'd better believe that a number of NBA teams, including the Lakers, are putting Ollie's name on their list of potential coaches.

While pro teams would like to talk to Ollie, you can be sure that Connecticut will do everything possible to take care of him. ESPN.com's Andy Katz reported that the school is in negotiations to double his salary, and he is worth every penny.

The 2014 men's national championship banner will fly high in Storrs because Ollie was a believer. He communicated that to his players and made them feel confident in their abilities to succeed.

When Ollie stepped into that scenario, replacing Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun, it was on an interim basis. He believed in himself and proved to the people of Connecticut that he could do the job. He got a new deal after the first season, and that will be even bigger now -- you can take that to the bank!