Episode 111: Reliving UConn’s Dream Season

A close-up of a student fan wearing a white headband that says "I love UConn hoops."

It may seem hard to believe, as we bask in the glow of a fifth national championship, but there was a time when the UConn men’s basketball team was little more than an afterthought.

The Huskies had joined the newly created Big East Conference in 1979, which coincidentally would be the last time they’d play in the NCAA tournament for more than a decade. A doormat in the best basketball conference in the country, UConn’s fortunes would only start to change when they hired a new head coach in 1986.

In his second year at UConn, Jim Calhoun led the Huskies to a victory in the National Invitation Tournament, their first ever national championship. But it would be the 1989-90 season that would capture the imagination of the entire state and announce UConn’s arrival as a national contender.

The Dream Season, as it’s become known, saw the Huskies reach their first NCAA tournament since 1979, a run capped off by the unforgettable Sweet 16 victory over Clemson, won in the very last second by a Tate George jump shot. 

It would all end in tears in the following round against Duke, but even though the Huskies would cut down the nets five times in the next 33 years, that season retains a special place in the hearts of UConn fans.

Matt Edwards is one of those fans. But unlike most fans, he’s not content to simply cherish his memories.

Since April 2022, Matt has been producing the Dream Season Podcast, an in-depth oral history of the 1989-90 season, featuring interviews with players, coaches, and journalists who relive that incredible time and offer their insights on what made it so special.

After the interview, Matt sticks around while we answer a history question he posed on Twitter: What’s the story behind a UConn-related publication with a memorable name that we’re not sure we can say on the podcast.

Listen to the episode here.