UConn coach helps to build basketball court for kids of all disa - WFSB 3 Connecticut

UConn coach helps to build basketball court for kids of all disabilities

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WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A UConn basketball coach is building hope for a new set of athletes, those with a disability.

On Friday, UConn Men's Basketball Coach Kevin Ollie made dreams come true.

"National championships, they come and go, but this dream - Jonathan's dream - stays forever," Ollie said. 

Ollie was already a winner on the court after his Huskies defeated Kentucky for the NCAA national championship in April 2014. 

However, on Friday, he was a winner "off of it" and thanks to a commitment to help young athletes with disabilities when he handed over a $50,000 check to help build a basketball court in West Hartford. 

"When I look at athletes with disabilities, I look at not only the disabilities," Ollie said. "I say they enjoy it, it's not a disability. Their love's not a disability. Their willingness to compete is not a disability. So I look at them as just athletes."

The money will be part of an inclusive playground called Jonathan's Dream. That's an organization dedicated to making play areas for kids of all abilities.

"The basketball court is going to be successful," Ollie said. 

One disabled athlete thanked Ollie for his donation. 

"I think it's gonna be great," the little athlete said.  

"It feels great just to give back to the community, and the commitment of Jonathan's Dream," Ollie said. "And to have me a part of, it takes a commitment from everybody." 

Ollie said it's about contributing beyond one's self, that's what he teaches his players.

"The heart of a champion is playing level 5 and touching every line," Ollie said. "No matter if somebody's watching, no matter if every coach in the world is watching, you touch those lines and do a great job on and off the basketball court. You're a champion, growing and improving."

Now he's committed to "keep" improving the lives of all athletes of all abilities.

"I'm gonna come over here in the summertime and the springtime and just sit on the bench and relax and watch all the kids playing," Ollie said. "It's gonna be a wonderful, wonderful sight to see this court go up."

Ollie said he's not stopping here and he wants to make sure these kinds of courts are built in communities throughout Connecticut.

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