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Dynasty – Ten Titles

For the past three weeks or so, I’ve been holed up trying to edit more than 20 years of photographs of the UConn women’s basketball team for a book on the 10 NCAA Championships they’ve won. A daunting task in many ways since we were limited to about 10-12 pages per chapter. Daunting, too, given the reality of how technology has changed from their first victory against Tennessee in 1995, when our photographers were still shooting film, to this year when Cloe Poisson and Michael McAndrews covered them during each round digitally shooting both stills and video to try to satisfy the enormous appetite of our readers online, in print and through social media.

My how times have changed.

1995-clift-victors

Minneapolis, MN 4.2.1995 UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma has enjoyed the ride that led to his first national championship. His players hoist him perfectly on their shoulders and carry him off the court. Photo by Brad Clift / The Hartford Courant

To view more photos and history of the UConn women’s basketball team click the View More link:

Passages from the Hartford Courant’s book,“Dynasty: UConn Women’s Ten-Title Season”, were used in each chapter here were written by John Altavilla, Hartford Courant UConn women’s basketball beat reporter.

To purchase the book go to this pre-order page:

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900 Victories

Blog-LeadWith less than one minute remaining in the game against Cincinnati (L to ) Moriah Jefferson, Breanna Stewart, Kia Nurse and Saniya Chong entertain associate head coach Chris Dailey as they don placards with her and Geno Auriemma’s faces and glasses that signify the milestone the UConn Huskies reached Tuesday night with a 96-36 victory at the XL Center. Auriemma won 900 faster than any coach in Division I history in just his 1,034th game. He also became the first man to win 900 in women’s basketball. And all around him on Tuesday was joy and celebration.

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Oh My.

The defense by UConn and nonexistent shooting by SMU crushed the Mustangs. UConn led 47-9 at the halftime The Huskies then scored the first 27 points over 12:20 to take a 74-9 lead in the second half. Final score: 87-28.

Morgan Tuck spins, defended by SMU forward Stephanie Collins in the 1st half.  Tuck added 5 points.

Morgan Tuck spins, defended by SMU forward Stephanie Collins in the 1st half. Tuck added 5 points.

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UConn Class of 2014 Commencements

The UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences held commencement ceremonies at Gampel Pavilion Sunday, while the Neag School of Education graduation was held at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts.  Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, who protected her 15 first-graders when gunman Adam Lanza shot his way into the building on December 14, 2012, killing 20 children and six adults, by hiding them in a cramped bathroom, gave the commencement address to the Neag School graduates, And University of Texas professor of mathematics Philip Uri Treisman told CLAS grads that “democracy is not a spectator sport.” To read Chris Hoffman’s coverage of the events click here and here.

STORRS 05/11/14 Graduates with UConn's Neag School of Education applaud commencement speaker Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts Sunday. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

STORRS 05/11/14 Graduates with UConn’s Neag School of Education applaud commencement speaker Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts Sunday. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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Battle Of The Undefeated

On Monday afternoon UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said “There’s no matchup for Kayla McBride and Jewell Loyd. I don’t think anybody in the country has figured out how to guard those two. And I’m not sure we’re going to be able to guard them either.” Maryland thought they had a plan but Notre Dame dispatched them easily with an 87-61 victory. Now two undefeated teams will compete for the national championship Tuesday night. For Lori Riley’s story on the rivalry click here:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Kayla McBride (21) drives up court as Maryland Terrapins guard Laurin Mincy (1) reaches in for the ball during the first half of the 2014 NCAA Women's Final Four in Nashville, TN., Sunday night. McBride scored 28 points and Notre Dame easily advanced with an 87-61 victory.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Kayla McBride (21) drives up court as Maryland Terrapins guard Laurin Mincy (1) reaches in for the ball during the first half of the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Nashville, TN., Sunday night. McBride scored 28 points and Notre Dame easily advanced with an 87-61 victory.

Notre Dame and UConn did not play each other this year and the rivalry has become more intense over the years so Tuesday nights game should be a beauty. For more photos of how the two teams reached the final click here:

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UConn Men Advance To NCAA Championship Game

The game ended much differently than it started. Midway through the first period, UConn was down by twelve points, 16 to 4. But after a called timeout UConn roared back to score 11 unanswered points, which saw DeAndrea Daniels hit the three-point- shots. When UConn ended the first half with a three point lead, the tide had turned, and the Huskies had the waves at their back the rest of the way. UConn defeated the Florida Gators Saturday night to advance the the NCAA Division I Championship game against Kentucky Monday.

Click here to read Dom Amore’s game story. Click here to read Paul Doyle’s story on Shabazz Napier, the kid from Roxbury. Click here to read Jeff Jacobs’ column about UConn being one game away from redemption. Click here for Dom Amore story on UConn brimming with confidence.

DeAndre Daniels signals #1 after scoring a 3-pointer in the 2nd half as UConn pulled ahead.

DeAndre Daniels signals #1 after scoring a 3-pointer in the 2nd half as UConn pulled ahead.

 

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The Road To Perfection

With a decisive 69-54 win over the Texas A&M Aggies in their NCAA Elite 8 game at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in the Lincoln Regional Monday night, the UConn women’s basketball team (38-0) is two games away from a perfect season. A win over Stanford in the national semi-final in Nashville Sunday night would send them to an expected – well, at least hoped for – championship showdown with the only other undefeated team – the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. On the eve of the Huskies pursuit of a record ninth national championship, here is a look back at their Elite 8 victory in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Click here to read John Altavilla’s game story. Click here to read Lori Riley’s preview story on UConn’s semi-final game against Stanford.

LINCOLN, NE 03/28/14 UConn Huskies center Stefanie Dolson (31) (left) does a victory dance as her teammates celebrate as time runs out in the second half of the NCAA Lincoln Regional Championship at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Monday. UConn defeated the Texas A&M Aggies, 69-54, to advance to the Final Four. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

LINCOLN, NE 03/28/14 UConn Huskies center Stefanie Dolson (31) (left) does a victory dance as her teammates celebrate as time runs out in the second half of the NCAA Lincoln Regional Championship at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Monday. UConn defeated the Texas A&M Aggies, 69-54, to advance to the Final Four. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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UConn Men Defeat MSU Spartans, Advance to Final Four

The University  of Connecticut men’s basketball team continued their tradition of creating remarkable memories for Connecticut fans on the wooden planks of the “World’s Most Famous Arena.”  They started off strong against the powerful Michigan State University Spartans, but finished even stronger. In between, however, they created a little drama by  falling behind by as many as nine points in the second half. But when the final buzzer sounded, the Huskies ended up defeating the Spartans by a score of 60 to 54 in the NCAA Division I East Regional at Madison Garden in New York. They will now travel to Dallas Texas to play in the Final Four.

Shabazz Napier led the Huskies in points, 25, and bloody nose’s, 1, as UConn fought hard in front of a Connecticut friendly crowd. Former UConn players from past Championships were in the audience.

Click here to read Dom Amore’s game story. Click here, to read Paul Doyle’s story on Boatright’s defense. Click here to read Jeff Jakobs’ column on Kevin Ollie taking the stairs. 

In the closing seconds of the game, UConn Huskies guard Shabazz Napier, 13, flashes a four finger salute possibly signifying a trip to the Final Four. It will be Napier's second trip to the "Big Dance," as he was a member of the Championship team of 2011.

In the closing seconds of the game, UConn Huskies guard Shabazz Napier, 13, flashes a four finger salute possibly signifying a trip to the Final Four. It will be Napier’s second trip to the “Big Dance,” as he was a member of the Championship team of 2011.

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UConn Women Beat BYU In Sweet 16

The UConn women defeated the BYU Cougars, 70-51, before a packed house at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, in an NCAA Sweet 16 game in the Lincoln Regional. Stefanie Dolson was given the assignment to guard BYU’s 6’7″ center, Jennifer Hamson.  After a tight first half, with eight lead changes and three ties, and UConn only up by one point at the half, the Huskies came out swinging in the second half, pulling away to win it and advance to the Elite 8.  They will play the Texas A&M Aggies as they continue their journey toward the Final Four and a record ninth national championship.  Read John Altavilla’s game story here.

LINCOLN, NE 03/28/14 UConn Huskies forward Breanna Stewart (30) is defended by Brigham Young Cougars forward Morgan Bailey (41) in the first half of an NCAA Sweet Sixteen game at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Saturday.  CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

LINCOLN, NE 03/28/14 UConn Huskies forward Breanna Stewart (30) is defended by Brigham Young Cougars forward Morgan Bailey (41) in the first half of an NCAA Sweet Sixteen game at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Saturday. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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UConn Is Great!!!… 8

The University of Connecticut Huskies added to their long string of impressive victories in “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” with a hard fought victory over the Iowa State Cyclones by a score of 81 to 76, on their way through the NCCA’s Division One tournament. By winning the game, UConn left the Sweet Sixteen and embraced the Great Eight, and a chance to battle Michigan State for a trip to the Final Four.

For further coverage, please click here to read the game story by Dom Amore, click here, to read Paul Doyle’s story, and click here to read Jeff Jacobs’ column. And please click here, or the link below, to see more photos from the game made by myself, and Courant colleague Brad Horrigan.

UConn Huskies forward DeAndre Daniels, 2, reacts after hitting a three-point shot as Iowa State Cyclones guard DeAndre Kane, 50, looks away during the second half.

UConn Huskies forward DeAndre Daniels, 2, reacts after hitting a three-point shot as Iowa State Cyclones guard DeAndre Kane, 50, looks away during the second half.

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UConn Hangs On To Beat Cincinnati 58-56

The game was physical as expected, with UConn’s big men taking control under the basket when it mattered most, in the closing seconds of the game. Ryan Boatright hit critical back-to-back three-point shots and a couple clutch free throws and UConn defense held the Bearcats scoreless for stretches of the second half. In the end, the University of Connecticut beat the University of Cincinnati in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Friday night by a score of 58 to 56. UConn will face the University of Louisville in the AAC Championship game Saturday night at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn.

Click here to read Dom Amore’s game story on how they did it. Click here to read Jeff Jacobs explain how to motivate.

After a couple of missed baskets in the final seconds and loosing an opportunity to tie the game, Cincinnatti came up short as time expired.

After a couple of missed baskets in the final seconds and loosing an opportunity to tie the game, Cincinnatti came up short as time expired.

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New Conference, Old Champions

After winning 18 Big East titles, the UConn women steamrolled their way through the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship tournament this past weekend at the Mohegan Sun Arena with three decisive wins in as many days, going 34-0 on the season. They defeated Cincinnati 72-42, Rutgers 83-57, and Louisville 72-52. To read John Altavilla’s tournament wrap-up, click here. UConn will enter the upcoming NCAA tournament as an undefeated top seed in their pursuit of a ninth national title.

UNCASVILLE 03/10/14  The UConn women pose with the trophy after winning the American Athletic Conference Championship game at the Mohegan Sun Arena Monday. UConn defeated Louisville, 72-52.   CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

UNCASVILLE 03/10/14 The UConn women pose with the trophy after winning the American Athletic Conference Championship game at the Mohegan Sun Arena Monday. UConn defeated Louisville, 72-52. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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UConn Football | Pro Timing Day

ProDayBlog

Former UConn linebacker Yawin Smallwood gets set to work out for NFL scouts at the Burton Family Football Complex and the Shenkman Training Center on the UConn campus. Smallwood is nursing a hamstring injury but was able to participate in timed agility drills.  Patrick Raycraft | praycraft@courant.com

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UConn Seniors Swan Song

On Saturday, UConn All Americans and fan favorites Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley were honored at Senior Day ceremonies before a packed house at Gampel Pavilion on the Storrs campus. Each player was escorted into the arena by their parents to thunderous applause and cheering by the faithful fans and students.  Hartley, grinning from ear to ear, hoisted her framed jersey as she enjoyed the adulation at the close of her stellar UConn career.  Dolson, ever the cut-up, came out dancing in her inimitable style to the roar of her adoring fans. Then the two got to work: Hartley scored 20 points and Dolson surpassed the 1,000 rebound mark in UConn’s 72-35 trouncing of Rutgers.  They made it look easy, as usual, in their final regular season home game under the dome.  (They will play again in the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament starting the weekend of March 22 at Gampel.)  To read about their final home game, see John Altavilla’s story here.

STORRS 03/01/14 UConn seniors Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson hug after they were honored at Senior Day ceremonies at Gampel Pavilion before their game against Rutgers Saturday. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

STORRS 03/01/14 UConn seniors Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson hug after they were honored at Senior Day ceremonies at Gampel Pavilion before their game against Rutgers Saturday. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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Huskies Vanquish Knights

The UConn women’s basketball team added another game to the win column when they visited the University of Central Florida Knights at UCF Arena in Orlando, Florida, on New Years Day.  In UConn’s second game playing in the new American Athletic Conference, they moved into the Knight’s house, with a large Husky fan section in tow, and rolled to a 77-49 victory. Stefanie Dolson rang in the new year with a 25 point, 12 rebound performance. Read John Altavilla’s game story here.

ORLANDO, FL 01/01/14 UConn Huskies guard Brianna Banks (13) grabs a loose ball from UCF Knights forward/center Erika Jones (55) in the first half against UCF at UCF Arena Wednesday.  UConn beat the Knights, 77-49. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@couant.com

ORLANDO, FL 01/01/14 UConn Huskies guard Brianna Banks (13) grabs a loose ball from UCF Knights forward/center Erika Jones (55) in the first half against UCF at UCF Arena Wednesday. UConn beat the Knights, 77-49. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@couant.com

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UConn Women Overpower Cal at MSG

Offensively the UConn women started off slowly in the first half of their matchup with California at Madison Square Garden Sunday.  But as the game wore on, the Huskies proved to be far superior to their west coast adversaries.  Breanna Stewart led the way with 29 points (in only 27 minutes) and 10 rebounds.

UConn women's Hoops Versus CalNew York, NY – 12/22/13 – UConn players, left to right: Brianna Banks, Bria Hartley, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson celebrate on the bench after a basket by Tierney Lawlor  (not pictured) against California in the Maggie Dixon Classic Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.  Photo by BRAD HORRIGAN | bhorrigan@courant.com

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UConn Women Dominate Duke 83-61

We all have “Bucket Lists”, mine included Cameron Indoor Stadium, home of the “Cameron Crazies”, which open in 1940 on the West Campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. It has been the site of many memorable basketball games, Tuesday night pitted the #1 UConn Huskies women’s basketball team against #2 ranked Duke. When the dust settled from the wood bleachers one thing was certain, UConn has few teams that can play 40 minutes at their level…

It was #1 UConn against #2 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC, Tuesday evening. At the conclusion of the game it was clear there are few teams that will be able to knock the Huskies from their lofty perch.

It was #1 UConn against #2 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC, Tuesday evening. At the conclusion of the game it was clear there are few teams that will be able to knock the Huskies from their lofty perch.

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UConn Women Top Penn State

With only five players seeing over 20 minutes of playing time, and only seven players playing, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team beat Penn State University at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. by a score of 71 to 52.

UConn’s senior guard, Bria Hartley led the way for the Lady Huskies, scoring 29 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, and was just named Player of the Week for the American Athletic Conference.

Please read John Altavilla’s game story by clicking here. John also wrote about a WNBA recruiter who was at the game, see that story by clicking here.

Bria Hartley dries to the basket over Penn State University junior forward/center, Tori Waldner. Hartley led the game in scoring with 29 points.

Bria Hartley dries to the basket over Penn State University junior forward/center, Tori Waldner. Hartley led the game in scoring with 29 points.

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Team of Nine UConn Women Huskies Beat Maryland

With two players injured and unable to play, the number one ranked  University of Connecticut women’s basketball team played eighth ranked University of Maryland Friday night. Junior forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and sophomore forward, Morgan Tuck could only watch from the bench. After a close first half, UConn played tough defense in the second half and won the game by a score of 72 to 55 to retain their number one ranking.

Please Click Here to read John Altavilla’s game story on how the short handed Huskies, held off the Terps.

Please Click Here to read Jeff Jacobs’ column about Moriah Jefferson’s Sweet Moves being the difference.

With two players out due to injuries, each player needed to step up for their game against eight ranked Maryland. Here, UConn's sophomore guard, Moriah Jefferson, 4, shoots as Maryland Terrapins head coach Brenda Frese shouts in her ear  during the first half.

With two players out due to injuries, each player needed to step up for their game against eight ranked Maryland. Here, UConn’s sophomore guard, Moriah Jefferson, 4, shoots as Maryland Terrapins head coach Brenda Frese shouts in her ear during the first half.

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UConn Defeats Stanford 76-57

STORRS — Most times, it happens just once a season. But for some strange reason, the sight of Stanford-UConn doesn’t seem to generate the kind of national excitement it seemingly should.

Then again, sometimes in the midst of a hard-fought game between two elite programs, the fire and joy of what transpires is overshadowed.

Not by disinterest, but by the concern for a young woman injured in its pursuit.

No. 1 UConn beat No. 3 Stanford, 76-57, on Monday at Gampel Pavilion, their first meeting at Geno Auriemma‘s castle in the cow pasture since 1993, when national championships were just a dream for him. For the rest of John Altavilla’s story click here:

Jonathan the Husky Dog unveils the 8th national championship banner before the No.1 UConn women defeated No. 3 Stanford 76-57 at Gampel Pavilion Monday night.

Jonathan the Husky Dog unveils the 8th national championship banner before the No.1 UConn women defeated No. 3 Stanford 76-57 at Gampel Pavilion Monday night.

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Tune-Up For The New Season

The defending national champion UConn women’s basketball team dispatched  Philadelphia University with a lopsided score of 93-28 in a fast-paced exhibition game at the XL Center Tuesday night.  It was the second of two pre-season games in which UConn easily rolled over lesser opponents before the new season gets underway on Saturday when they meet Jen Rizotti’s Hartford Hawks.  No. 3 Stanford rolls into town on Monday.  Read John Altavilla’s game story here.

HARTFORD 11/05/13 UConn's Stefanie Dolson (31) is fouled by Philadelphia's Monica Schacker (23) in the first half in an exhibition game at the XL Center in Hartford Tuesday night.  CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

HARTFORD 11/05/13 UConn’s Stefanie Dolson (31) is fouled by Philadelphia’s Monica Schacker (23) in the first half in an exhibition game at the XL Center in Hartford Tuesday night. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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Ohhhhh and 7

Bright sun and warm temperatures notwithstanding, the Huskies performance at UCF in Orlando on Saturday was anything but warm and sunny.  More like a pre-Halloween scare fest.  They suffered another blowout as the UCF Knights skewered them, 62-17 at Bright House Networks Stadium.  For the gory details, see Dez Conner’s account here. With five games remaining in the season the question remains: can they right the ship?

ORLANDO 10/26/13 UConn running back Lyle McCombs (43) looks grim as he leaves the field after UConn took a drubbing by UCF at Bright House Networks Stadium, losing 62-17 Saturday. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

ORLANDO 10/26/13 UConn running back Lyle McCombs (43) looks grim as he leaves the field after UConn took a drubbing by UCF at Bright House Networks Stadium, losing 62-17 Saturday. CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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UConn’s First Night

UConn previewed the 2013-14 basketball season with their annual First Night celebration before a packed house at Gampel Pavilion Friday night. The event included the usual autograph signing, player introductions – with several showing off their dance moves – and a few trivia games for the players and contests for the fans. Then, for the first time, the two teams merged for an inter-squad scrimmage pitting Team Geno, in white, against Team Kevin in blue. Team Geno came from behind to win it, 51-49. To read Jeff Jacob’s column and see more coverage of the event, click here.

STORRS 10/18/13 Members of Team Geno seek crowd support during a trivia game at UConn's First Night festivities.  They are Phil Nolan, Omar Calhoun, Breanna Stewart, Shabazz Napier, Bria Hartley (back to camera), Tor Watts and Niels Giffey (l-r.)  CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

STORRS 10/18/13 Members of Team Geno seek crowd support during a trivia game at UConn’s First Night festivities. They are Phil Nolan, Omar Calhoun, Breanna Stewart, Shabazz Napier, Bria Hartley (back to camera), Tor Watts and Niels Giffey (l-r.) CLOE POISSON|cpoisson@courant.com

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Weist Takes Helm At UConn Football

T.J. Weist, who was introduced at a 4 p.m. news conference Monday, was named the interim coach for the rest of the season after UConn athletic director Warde Manuel decided to fire head coach Paul Pasqualoni, who was 10-18 in two-plus season and whose team sits at the bottom nationally in just about every offensive category. Manuel said Weist has a passion for the game and coaching, but for Weist to be a permanent candidate, Manuel said he needs to win. For the rest of the story click here:

T.J. Weist held his first official practice Tuesday afternoon as the new UConn football head coach. "This is my job now and this team is my focus, nothing else, and I agree with him when he said the bottom line is to win. There's nothing to disagree with him about. It's the truth. If I want to be the next head coach and we want to lead this program, then we have to win; we have to win in a style and manner, with character and class, and the things he wants from us. I understand what he wants."

T.J. Weist held his first official practice Tuesday afternoon as the new UConn football head coach. “This is my job now and this team is my focus, nothing else, and I agree with him when he said the bottom line is to win. There’s nothing to disagree with him about. It’s the truth. If I want to be the next head coach and we want to lead this program, then we have to win; we have to win in a style and manner, with character and class, and the things he wants from us. I understand what he wants.”

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