As reported by The Hartford Courant, June 9, 2008.

Calhoun's Charity on Course

By Mike Anthony

SIMSBURY —  Once again, UConn coach Jim Calhoun didn't have the easiest go of it in the bike-riding portion of the Jim Calhoun Cancer Challenge ride Sunday.

Calhoun completed 31 miles with a wheel that was too big for his bike frame, meaning his tire was rubbing — as if he were riding with brakes applied.

"And," Calhoun said, "our group got lost."

A year ago, during the inaugural event, he clipped handle bars with another rider and fell, scraping his arm. Calhoun just doesn't do anything the easy way.

"You're right about that," he said.

"Life as usual and a typical day for Coach Calhoun," said Peter Gold, one of the event's organizers.

Which is also to say it was a great success for a cause dear to Calhoun's heart. The ride featured about 550 participants — nearly double the number from last year. And when fundraising ends Aug. 1, it figures to have raised $400,000 to $500,000. Last year, the event raised $233,000. All proceeds benefit the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UConn Health Center, and Coaches vs. Cancer.

"It was a terrific, terrific day," Calhoun said. "A really important day."

Calhoun defeated prostate cancer in 2003. Last month, he had surgery to remove a cancerous mass from the side of his neck, probably related to the squamous cell cancer of the skin removed from his right cheek last year. Now cancer free, he'll begin preventive radiation treatment.

Calhoun, who last week had two wisdom teeth removed, rode 50 miles last year. He wasn't able to properly train this time, though he was still geared up to do 50 miles in the 95-degree heat. But the mechanical problem and the wrong turn led him to cut it short. The 31 miles he covered took just over 2 1/2 hours.

"I'm tired," he said. "But everybody is. It was hot."

Afterward, riders, about 200 volunteers and spectators gathered at the Performing Arts Center at Simsbury Meadows for a concert by The Tirebiter Band and a barbecue. Many people, including Calhoun, chose not to hang around as long as planned because of the heat, but there still were plenty of hot dogs, hamburgers, autographs and handshakes.

Former players Oliver Macklin and Rudy Johnson watched. Assistant coach Patrick Sellers took part in the event. Many of Calhoun's family members were there.

David Cordani, president of CIGNA HealthCare, rode a portion of the event alongside Calhoun. CIGNA was the title sponsor this year.

"We're looking for community-based events to sponsor and cancer is one of the top illnesses affecting people," Cordani said. "For us, this was a match made in heaven."

For more information on how to contribute, visit www.calhounride.com.

All-Star Game Set

The Mohegan Sun/Jim Calhoun Charity All-Star Game will be August 9, 2008 at Mohegan Sun Arena at 7:30 p.m.

Former players Ray Allen, Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, Richard Hamilton and Caron Butler are expected to be among those participating. The basketball game is part of the Mohegan Sun/Jim Calhoun Celebrity Classic, which features a weekend of various activities and has raised more than $2.5 million for the UConn Health Center's Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center since 1999.

Tickets to the game go on sale today at Ticketmaster locations, ticketmaster.com or by calling 860-525-4500.