Auriemma’s Words Tend To Reverberate Across The Nation

by Categorized: CNN, Geno Auriemma, MSNBC, Newtown, UConn women's basketball Date:

During the last 10 years of his 28 seasons as UConn women’s basketball coach, Geno Auriemma’s voice has steadily begun to carry farther and have more of an impact as it relates to women’s basketball, the Big East and now events such as the national tragedy last week in Newtown.

When he says something, people tend to listen, whether they agree or not. When he makes a suggestion, people tend to consider it. And when he does something like donate $80,000 with his wife Kathy to start an academic scholarship fund at UConn for the families of the Newtown victims, the nation sees it and wants to talk to him about it.

“I’m just a poor little Italian kid, come over from Italy,” Auriemma said. “I don’t know anything. But I do know this: little kids in Italy aren’t afraid to walk down the street because they are going to get shot. They aren’t afraid about being shot in a school. They don’t need to worry about going shopping at the mall. Nor do the little kids in Germany or France.

“Most civilized countries in the world do not have to worry about this stuff. so why do we in this nation have to fear for our children. Why do I have to be afraid for the safety of my grandson. It’s beyond me. I can’t figure it out and no one will ever convince me that it is OK.”

Auriemma appeared on both CNN and MSNBC last week to talk about the scholarship fund. And his point of view about lowering the rim in women’s basketball and begging the Catholic 7 to leave the Big East ASAP have been debated nationally.

“Everyone person who was around on Friday has an opinion about what happened in Newtown,” Auriemma said Saturday after UConn’s 102-45 win over Hartford. “And if someone asks me my opinion about that or about schools leaving the Big East, you sometimes get the nonsense back [from those that don't agree] about ‘What do we care, he’s only a women’s basketball coach. His opinion doesn’t count. That’s fine. I understand. You are going to offend some people and others may agree with you.

“I think people ask me opinion on things not because I am a women’s basketball coach, but because they know I am going to offer an honest opinion. If you ask me a question on a national issue, I will tell you what I think and I’ve been doing it for 28 years now.

“I don’t feel like I have a tremendous responsibility [to be the voice of his sport]. If I am not asked, I won’t offer an opinion. But what amazes me is how many people that are in the position to influence public opinion, at a much higher level than I am, refuse to comment or offer an opinion because of what it might mean to their careers, either in politics or any arena in which they don’t want the perception people have to them to change.

“So what you get instead are stock answers and cliches, canned responses to important questions. I’ve never felt like that was [his style] and I go back all the way to when I was a child. I said what I honestly thought and it hasn’t changed.

“The only thing that has changed is, when I say something more people are paying attention to it and reacting to it. To tell you the truth, I wish I could say more about things, even if people continue to say that my opinion does not matter. I wish I could say I lot of things I actually believe. Unlike a lot of people, I went to college, I keep up with what’s going on in the world. I read the newspaper and books.

“I am not trying to get re-elected. I don’t have a constituency to report to, corporate sponsors who may bail out on me. And when people contact me to tell me they don’t care what I have to say, I think to myself, ‘Well, you must care or you wouldn’t be contacting me to tell me I am full of it.









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16 thoughts on “Auriemma’s Words Tend To Reverberate Across The Nation

  1. Jeff Husky Fan

    Kudos to Geno for his willingness to speak out about topics. Geno is 200% correct about the fact concerning our children’s safety in this country. What tragically happened last Friday is unheard of in democratic nations such as Italy, (in Geno’s case), Australia, Japan, Canada, France and the list goes on and on located around the globe. Why? Because guns (in any form) are a non-factor in those countries as those citizens simply do NOT have access to them. Maybe if other prominent athletes, (or coaches such as in Geno’s case), college scholars, professors, celebrities, business individuals, etc; all of whom have a voice in the media would be willing to SPEAK OUT about the sickening loss of our precious children and grandchildren due to senseless gun violence in this country. There needs to be a cultural “awakening” in this country regarding the issue of guns. Thank you Geno for, in the words of the late Howard Cosell “telling it like it is”!!

    1. Deadrody

      No, actually its NOT unheard of elsewhere. Specifically in Australia, they had one of these situations. As did Denmark, and the UK.

      It just so happens that the US is far bigger than those places and the people in the US are far more free than in many places.

      The biggest problem is that with freedom comes responsibility, but at least half of this country is about everything BUT responsibility. You cannot be accepting of every possible personality trait and lifestyle and then expect everyone to act wisely. And the other half of the population is not giving up their freedom so that the other half can live responsibility-free. Period.

  2. Mike McManus

    I could not agree more. I’ve always admired Geno for ‘telling it like it is’ and for being a great basketball coach and mentor to his players. Love him or hate him, you can’t question his accomplishments or those of the women he has coached since he came to UCONN. It’s a sad state of affairs when our children and grandchildren can’t be safe while our elected officials are controlled or influenced by high-paid lobbyists and corporations.

  3. Linda Glick

    Amen, Geno!! Thank you for publically telling it like it is!! We need a Strong Public Voice to stand up to “Right-Wing” Conservative bullying!! And, Go Uconn Husky Women’s Basketball!!

    1. Hattie

      Linda: you are a perfect example of what Geno was talking about.

      In your case it’s: If we can just get rid of those “Right-Wing” Conservative bullies; THEN, everything will be fixed.

      Utter Bullspit!

      There are many things wrong:
      1) Violent movies
      2) Violent computer games
      3) Mainstream, even the most troubled children
      4) Liberal on everything, even the most sacred.
      4) Automatic Weapons
      5) Too lenient courts
      6) Lack of good Parenting
      AND, much more.

      So Linda – take a breath and use your brain.

  4. dude in New Britain

    Sometimes, I don’t agree with Geno. Sometimes, I don’t even understand what he’s saying. And to be honest, sometimes even Geno doesn’t say what he really believes, like when, in a pre-game interview, he touts an opponent whom he knows his team should and will rout, or when he calls his team the worst in the USA. But hats off to him for being willing to say what he believes on these matters and for calling out the cowardice of too many of our public figures.

  5. Newgirl2

    Well said Geno. Merry Christmas to you and your family, including the basketball team.

  6. Eileen

    Thank you Geno. You make me proud that I am Italian and a UCONN women’s bb fan. Keep “telling it like it is”. A very Merry Christmas to you and your family (I saw your mom and wife sitting behind the bench at the Hartford game yesterday). Your mom raised a wonderful person.

  7. e.blabb

    Yup. As long as you do not count the times that it happens in Europe and Canada, it never happens there. Oh wait…

    You might be interested to know that mental illness isn’t confined to the United States.

    But speaking of “civilized” Italy: It has been a whole month since a group of Italians stabbed a dozen or so fans of the Tottenham football club (which has some history of having Jewish fans or something).





    1. Big Jim


      Freddy, you make me smile. I like your brand of humour. I’m Irish and so that is how I would say it to John as well.

      Merry Christmas to everyone. You too, John.


  10. American From Newtown

    The murder of the 27 people (kids and adults) is more than a tragedy it’s beyond my words. Condemn the act. Condemn the murder.
    Geno has a right to speak his OPINION like the rest of us. My brother and a million like him made it so Geno had that right. Not being attacked by Black shirts, or SS troops. But he is so high profile when speaking of this Murder of 20 kids. And he speaks about the USA he needs to get his facts straight.
    But don’t say Kids don’t get shot in Italy. Sicily has for hundreds of years been a hot bed of murders and drive by’s and yes kids are murdered with families.
    Geno thinks he is a history buff, but sometimes he misuses facts. Train murders in Spain (kids and adults). Poison gasing of subway system in Japan (kids and adults)
    France, Germany, Russia have been attacked by terrorists and held kids hostages (and some were killed). Iraq, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan terrorists attacked kids and adults and they were killed Shot a little girl for wanting to go to school.
    This isn’t a UNIQUE American tragedy . I’m just a VERY POOR kid from AMERICA–who doesn’t think other countries are necessarily better or more civilized than the USA. When you leave a country at 7 things there sometimes look perfect back there–like SANTA.
    Yes I like Geno and Love his Coaching–he’s really really good at that. Geno is a truly good man, and his family is generous. I think Geno and Christine and the Women don’t get enough credit for the good they do. But don’t build up Italy at the expense of the USA–then I have say something–I know too many people who have made this a better by losing parts of their bodies and lives. Some even from Newtown.

    Yes someone should speak out–but EVERYONE in HARTFORD and DC are speaking out. Let us not make Knee Jerk laws and rules, we have too many I say think use a cool head–not just speak out because it makes you feel good.

    Geno your skin is too thin. Just because we don’t agree with you (Coaching or politics) does not mean we don’t respect your talent. Take the chip off your shoulder.

  11. Palimpist

    Geno–The USA has warts true. The Murder of 20 kids is tragic. It’s does not happen every day–thakfully. But I rather live here than any of those place you mentioned.
    In the last 43 years Geno has been in this country has this kind of thing happened? During that same time how many terrorist acts have occurred in Italy, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Australia—I think if you google Terrorists in each of these countries you’ll find your kids are safer here than there. How many kids have been shot walking to school in the USA during Geno’s 43 years as a Naturalized Citizen Millionaire??

  12. Big Jim

    To: American From Newtown

    With all due respect, you miss the salient point.

    In many cities in Europe (be it Italy, Ireland, Holland, Denmark, France, etc.) I would have no hesitation in letting my children go shopping by themselves. I have donr that with my own children in several of those cities, when they were still children.

    I would never even think to do that here in Connecticut’s New Haven,Hartford, Waterbury, Danbury and all towns in between.

    To your point – most of the incidents you mention are what we in Europe call “One Off’s”. Which means that we are totally confident that that is a single incident and we don’t expect it to happen again. In other words – the people feel safe.

    Not so here in the US. We look at those incidents as “raising the Bar” and fully expect the next idiot/crazie/killer to do something even more devastating. In other words – we are are a little more fearful.

    So – please dont lecture Geno, who has a good heart and does more that just give lip service. You are not representing Newtown well, when you speak in that way about or to a really fine and exceptional human.


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