Category Archives: Geno Auriemma

UConn’s Relationship With Bridgeport Could Grow

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, Kia Nurse, UConn men's basketball, UConn women's basketball, USA Basketball, Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard Date:

It’s likely the UConn men and women will return to Webster Bank Arena this season for regular-season games. And the possibility is great that both parties may agree to up the number to four [two for each program] in 2014-15.

“Going forward, I would not be surprised if its more than one,” Geno Auriemma said. “I don’t know the number would be. I’m not speaking for anyone, but there are times when it makes no sense for us to play anywhere by Gampel Pavilion. There are times when it makes great sense to play in Hartford. But there are other times when the fit is perfect and it makes all the sense in the world to play anyplace else other than up there. It works.”

Continue reading

Auriemma To Tee It Up – For Real

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma Date:

Geno Auriemma has been invited to play for the first time next month in the American Century Championship of celebrity golf, an event that will also feature Charles Barkley, Aaron Rodgers, Steph Curry and Ray Allen. Auriemma is listed at 50-1 odds to win by the Harrah’s/Harveys Lake Tahoe Race & Sports Book.
“There can’t be anyone lower than me,” Auriemma said. “I’m 50-1 with Ray Allen. But if I finished tied with Ray Allen, I will consider it a huge success because he’s not bad for a guy who only plays golf every day.”
As part of its 25th anniversary, other prominent athletes scheduled to compete are John Elway, Ray Romano, Carson Palmer, Steve Spurrier, Jason Kidd, Greg Maddux, Bode Miller, Roger Clemens, Steve Young, Jerry Rice and defending champion Billy Joe Tolliver.
“It ain’t easy being me,” Auriemma joked.

Continue reading

News And Notes From Geno’s “Fore The Kids” Golf Tournament

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

Monday was Geno Auriemma’s “Fore the Kids” golf tournament at the Hartford Golf Club in West Hartford. And along with the golfing, UConn brought a number of players along to hang out at the snack shack and say hello to and shoot hoops with the golfers as they passed though.
The program was also nice enough to allow us [the media] to say hello to the players and Geno so we could fill you in as to what’s been going on the nine-time championship program since Nashville.
Morgan Tuck, who is recovering from knee surgery in January, seems very encouraged by her recovery. That is good news for the Huskies who are really going to need her to help Kiah Stokes and Breanna Stewart deal with the post now that Stefanie Dolson is in the WNBA with purple hair.

Continue reading

Geno Auriemma On WTIC: Traffic, Weather, Opinions

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball, WTIC-AM, XL Center Date:

I just completed a three-hour stint listening to Geno Auriemma’s drive-time debut as a talk show host on WTIC-1080. It’s the first time I’ve ever listened to the show door-to-door, so to speak, and the one thing I will remember is how often the station updated traffic and weather. Good to remember if either topic is on my mind from 3 to 6 p.m.

It seemed like the breaks kind of caught Geno by surprise. Every time he was getting his offense going, the ball was back in Villanova’s hands; and he had to slow down, stop and start again. But that’s show business.

As for the highlights, he was asked about a few topics relating to his team, the nine-time national champion UConn women. He was asked what he felt about Hartford’s decision to build a baseball stadium for a minor-league team when its XL Center needs so much work.

Geno candidly admitted how underwhelmed he is with the lack of many amenities available in the old joint in comparison to the sparking new buildings sprouting up around the nation, saying at one point that you would never guess it was the home-away-from-home of the two current national champions of college basketball. But he has said that before and those who are interested in his point of view about that are already well aware of it.

He was pressed by some callers about his stances on immigration and the second amendment, but he handled it calmly without going all FoxNews or MSNBC on anybody.

And then he ended the three hours with this response to a question about the future of UConn athletics.

“We have already been affected by it [conference realignment]. We used to be a part of the best basketball league that ever existed [the Big East]. Go back two or three years and the Big East provided the best [college] basketball ever played, men and women.

“But football has taken the lead and the big five power conferences want to do their own things, separate from the NCAA, if possible, and have their own rules to do whatever they want, whenever they want and how ever they want. UConn had a choice. We could have moved forward without football and end up where the Big East is now, which I don’t know where that is. Or we could go with football and try to maximize it and create enough interest [in the school] that the [power] conferences might include us.

How do you do that? Well, just winning at football isn’t enough. It’s the interest level [in the program that's important]. How many fans or viewers can you bring to the conference. If [admission] was just based on the success of a universities athletic department, how do you take Rutgers over Connecticut in the Big Ten if it was just about success?

“They tell you its academics, this and that. It’s about nothing but how many people in that area will watch the conference on television and are you [the school] in an area a conference wishes to expand. We had some issues that prevented us from getting into the ACC; there were some things we did back in the day, like suing the conference. We did a lot of dumb things that are still haunting us.

“But the only thing we can do now is this – be the best athletic program we can be, the best university we can be and win the most games we can in every sport while selling out every stadium and venue we have. That will let everyone else in the country know that whether you like us or don’t like us, you are going to have to compete against us. That is the only thing we have control over.”



Doug Bruno On What He Told Geno About Natalie Butler

by Categorized: Doug Bruno, Geno Auriemma, Natalie Butler, UConn women's basketball Date:

When Geno Auriemma first heard Georgetown freshman Natalie Butler was interested in transferring to UConn, he turned to one of his best friends and confidants for advice.
And DePaul coach Doug Bruno, the man who will assist Auriemma again during the 2014 World Championships in Turkey, gave him an honest assessment of the 6-5 center and Big East’s rookie of the year.
“I think Natalie Butler has the potential to be a great player,” Bruno said. “She’s strong at the basket, a great rebounder. She catches anything that’s thrown to her and she finishes extremely well. And she’s a solid interior passer.”
Bruno realized Auriemma might be looking for a comparison to Stefanie Dolson, the All-American who helped lead UConn to two straight national championships.
Butler, the freshman of the year in the Big East last season, will sit out the 2014-15 season and join the Huskies as a sophomore the following season.
After being an all-state career at Lake Braddock High in Fairfax, Va., Butler led the Hoyas in minutes played (1157), the only player to start all 32 games of the 2013-14 season. She scored double-figures in all but four. She finished fifth in the nation in rebounding (13.3 per game) and was first among all freshmen in Division I. After averaging 13.9 ppg and 13.4 rebounds, Butler and also named to Big East’s second team after setting a freshman record with 425 boards.
“When someone is able to collect the amount to rebounds she had, it [the conference honors] was kind of a moot point,” Bruno said. “How could you argue in behalf of any of the other kids [candidates].
“She set a lot of Big East records and I realize the conference record book is somewhat skewed because the great UConn players that came before her often didn’t play enough minutes to make an impact in areas like that.
“So I am not going to tell you Butler is as good as Rebecca [Lobo] or Kara Wolters or Breanna Stewart. I’m not going to even try to compare her to Dolson, Tamika Williams, Swin Cash or Asjha Jones.
“But Natalie still broke records set by all the other players in all of the other programs in Big East history. And this conference has been together for a long time. That is what put her into a special place.”

Auriemma Says In Time Butler Will Be A Great Asset

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, Natalie Butler, UConn women's basketball Date:

Natalie Butler’s transfer to UConn was made official by the women’s basketball program on Wednesday and Geno Auriemma believes the 6-5 center from Georgetown will be a great asset to his program.
“Coming out of high school, Natalie was one of these kids who said it herself, ‘I didn’t play much. I was on a real good AAU team and didn’t play much.’
“And all of a sudden she’s at Georgetown and she’s averaging a double-double and playing 30 something minutes.”
Butler, the freshman of the year in the Big East last season, will sit out the 2014-15 season and join the Huskies as a sophomore the following season,

Continue reading

Auriemma Talks About His USA Basketball Staff

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, USA Basketball Date:

On Wednesday morning, Geno Auriemma and Kevin Ollie (you may have heard of them) were at the New York Athletic Club in New York City preparing to be honored for winning the national championships of Division I basketball.

I was not there. But our Dom Amore, who covers the men’s program so well for the Hartford Courant, was there. And he has passed along some of what Geno had to say.

Here’s Auriemma talking about his USA Basketball staff that includes DePaul’s Doug Bruno, Sout Carolina’s Dawn Staley and Cheryl Reeve, the coach of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx.

“I thought it came out pretty well. We’ve got just enough of all the things we’d like to have, we’ve got some experience, we’ve got some new people. Dawn Staley has played, I don’t know how long in the Olympics. Doug has been through the world championship and the Olympics already, Cheryl has been in finals last three years in the WNBA, so I think we’ve got a little bit of everything.

“Chris [Dailey] is going to come back over with us to do all the scouting and organize all that stuff,

“It’s an exciting time. Now that I know what the expectation level is, it makes it a little easier to plan for it. The first time, you’re not that sure what’s going to happen and there is a lot of anxiety. Now you’re a little more relaxed.”

Auriemma said USA Basketball is going to try to get Jen Rizzotti, the Hartford coach, more involved in the organizational and coaching process, as well.

“With USA basketball, one great thing, if you get involved early and you’re an assistant coach and you do a lot of stuff that nobody wants to do, that’s really hard to do,” Aureimma said. “Everybody thinks, I want to be an assistant at Olympics and I want that to be my first job or I want to be head coach at 18 and under in the world championships’

“You’ve got to start out doing the little stuff. People like Doug and Jennifer, that’s what they did and USA Basketball is really good at rewarding those people.

“We have an interesting scenario with coaches and players. We want some players who have been there so we have an experienced team, but we also want some new p layers to start laying the groundwork for the next Olympics. Same with coaches, we want some who have been here and done that, and also some young coaches that can eventually take over.”

USA Basketball will holding training camp at the U.S. Naval Academy from Sept. 7-11 prior to the World Championship in Turkey later that month


Auriemma’s World Championship Staff Named

by Categorized: Cheryl Reeve, Doug Bruno, Geno Auriemma, USA Basketball Date:

DePaul University’s Doug Bruno, the Minnesota Lynx’ Cheryl Reeve, and University of South Carolina’s Dawn Staley, have been selected as assistant coaches for the 2014 USA Basketball women’s world championship team coached by Geno Auriemma.

Bruno and Staley, whose teams will both play UConn in the 2014-15 season, have served as assistant coaches for USA Basketball at the FIBA World Championship and Olympic Games, Bruno in 2010 and 2012, and Staley in 2006 and 2008. Reeve has a pair of WNBA titles as a head coach with the Lynx (2011, 2013) and two as an assistant coach with the Detroit Shock (2006, 2008).

“Overall, I think we’ve got a great mix,” Auriemma said in a release. “We certainly have enough experience, both USA Basketball-wise, college, pro; we have a mix of personalities that I think is going to be really, really good. We have some continuity with Doug back. We have an opportunity to bring in some younger coaches, who hopefully aspire down the road to be head coaches at USA Basketball. They’re proven winners. They’re the kind of people that USA Basketball is really important to them, and most importantly, they’re people I can work with, people I have a lot of respect for and I think the committee really did a great job.”

Continue reading

Geno, Ollie To Talk Strategy At The Pentagon

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma Date:

    As we wait for Natalie Butler, the daughter of former Navy basketball star Vernon Butler [think the David Robinson era] to decide if she wants to transfer to UConn, consider how well regarded Geno Auriemma is at the Pentagon. If the SEC only knew.

  Auriemma and Kevin Ollie, the nation’s collegiate national champion basketball coaches, will be among a group of USA Basketball coaches to visit the Pentagon Wednesday for a strategy seminar with military officials and conduct a panel discussion on leadership for more than 400 service members. 

   Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, with whom Auriemma has struck up a wonderful relationship over the years, in collaboration with USA Basketball, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and their NBA Cares Hoops for Troops program, will host a group of seven coaches, which features six with extensive USA Basketball coaching experiences, will also participate in a leadership panel discussion in the Pentagon Auditorium.       

     Good news. The panel discussion will not be on ESPN3. It will be televised on The Pentagon Channel and webcast at starting at 1:30 p.m.

       “These preeminent coaches lead their own world-class teams in USA Basketball and the NCAA,” said Dempsey.  “We’ll discuss the importance of dynamic leadership to building winning teams and also expose these coaches to what our world-class military team brings to the nation.”

      In addition to Auriemma and Ollie, Jim Boeheim, assistant coach for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team and head coach of Syracuse University men’s basketball, Jamie Dixon, head coach of University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball, Tom Izzo, head coach of Michigan State University men’s basketball, Tubby Smith, head coach of Texas Tech University men’s basketball, and Jay Wright, head coach of Villanova University men’s basketball.  Jay Bilas, ESPN college basketball analyst, will moderate the panel discussion.

    “I’d like to thank General Dempsey and his staff for this incredible opportunity. We’re delighted to contribute back to the military community in any way we can,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director. “USA Basketball is also extremely proud and very appreciative that these seven great coaches will again give back to their country. It’s an honor to have them continue to represent USA Basketball, the NCAA, as well as their respective universities in such a positive and valuable manner. I’m sure this will be a great learning experience for everyone.”

   The open panel discussion will focus on challenges facing championship-level teams and the U.S. military.  Among the topics will be how to motivate and inspire people towards pursuit of a common goal, how to mentor young adults for a lifetime of positive contributions, how to recruit and retain the best talent, and how to better integrate a diverse group of people.

    The strategy seminar with Gen. Dempsey and the coaches provides a venue for the USA Basketball coaches and military leadership to talk about shared values, common themes, and applicable lessons learned over long and successful professional careers.