HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun got into a heated exchange at a postgame news conference Saturday with a freelance journalist and political activist who questioned why the coach of a public university was making $1.6 million in tough economic times.
"Not a dime back," Calhoun joked as Ken Krayeske asked about Calhoun's salary and the state's budget deficit, which is estimated at $944 million for the current fiscal year and up to $8 billion over the next two years.
When Krayeske continued the line of questioning, Calhoun got angry.
"My best advice to you is, shut up," said Calhoun, who offered to talk to Krayeske after the news conference that followed the top-ranked Huskies' 64-50 victory over South Florida.
"If these guys covered this stuff, I wouldn't have to do it," said Krayeske, who had been granted a photo pass to attend the news conference.
Now visibly angry, Calhoun responded.
"Quite frankly, we bring in $12 million to the university, nothing to do with state funds," Calhoun shouted back. "We make $12 million a year for this university. Get some facts and come back and see me. ... Don't throw out salaries and other things.
"Get some facts and come back and see me. We turn over $12 million to the University of Connecticut, which is state-run. Next question."
Krayeske, of Hartford, is a political activist and self-described freelance journalist who has landed in the headlines after other high-profile incidents in the past.
They included his January 2007 arrest at Gov. M. Jodi Rell's inaugural parade, where Hartford police charged Krayeske with breach of peace and interfering with an officer.
The charges were later dismissed.
Calhoun, who has two national championships, is set to make $1.6 million in 2009-10, the final year of his contract. Women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, who has brought five national championships to Storrs, recently signed a 5-year, $8 million deal that begins July 1.
Connecticut football coach Randy Edsall signed a 5-year deal a year ago that pays him an average of $1.5 million annually.
The three coaches are among the state's highest paid employees.