Category Archives: Geno Auriemma

Auriemma, Ollie Take A Call From The Boss

by Categorized: Barack Obama, Geno Auriemma Date:

Nope, not Bruce Springsteen. Nope, not even Susan Herbst.

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama called Geno Auriemma and Kevin Ollie to congratulate both teams on their national championships.

The President,who is now practically on a first name basis with Geno, commended Ollie and his team on their decisive championship victory and noted that he enjoyed watching the team throughout their tournament run.

On the call with Auriemma, the President expressed how impressive it’s been to see the team continue to dominate the field and commended him on yet another [nine] championship win.

The President told both he looks forward to congratulating their teams at the White House in the coming months.

Telling Thoughts From Geno Auriemma

by Categorized: A'ja Wilson, Geno Auriemma Date:

As we await Wednesday’s college announcement on ESPNU (3 p.m.) by South Carolina high school star A’ja Wilson, the top-ranked player in the Class of 2014, I thought you might be interested in this stream of consciousness from Coach Auriemma.

What you will read has no direct connection with Wilson, who will chose between UConn, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina, In fact, the question was about having 15 No. 1 draft picks in WNBA history and what that means to the program.

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Give Thanks On Parade Day, Before The Parade Passes By

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

I will not be at the UConn parade today. I am afraid of clowns. And you never know if someone from the SEC will show up to ruin UConn’s celebration at the state capitol.

I have transitioned into my summer job; covering the Connecticut Sun and WNBA, and I will be spending the day today fawning over the Mets, preparing for tomorrow’s draft and getting ready to watch Mad Men.

Before I do, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who came here to visit my blog this season for information – and hopefully entertainment. My bosses tell me the numbers are in the high hundreds of thousands. I don’t have that many of anything, with the possible exception of faux reading glasses spread around the house.

There are many, many places you could turn to on this well-covered beat, many informed voices and minds to choose from. Thank you for choosing mine on so many occasions.

As I prepare to head to the casino, I have one more thing I want to say. I have said this many times on many formats, but I think it bears repeating before parade begins.

UConn basketball fans, particularly the fans of Geno Auriemma’s program, are living in the gilded age of college sports. Seriously, what you have seen transpire over the last 20 years will never happen again, exactly like this again, in our lifetime. It can’t. It’s an original. You never forget your first.

There may come a time when another coach in another program learns how to sustain; but it will never approach what has happened at UConn since Auriemma won his first national championship in 1995. The circumstances are too unique, the environment too perfect, the coach too dynamic, the players too remarkable.

Look, I realize he could care less what I think, and his supporters and friends are far more well-positioned in life, but I sincerely believe, yes I do, that Auriemma is one of the greatest coaches in the history of sports, college or professional.

He is the Walter Camp, Knute Rockne, Connie Mack, Casey Stengel, Red Auerbach, John Wooden and Scotty Bowman of his sport and his time. He is generational in his impact.

If more people cared about women’s basketball in this country- I live in the world 24-7 and I know they don’t – he would be right up there with Coach K and Bob Knight, Joe Torre and Bill Belichick. He would be an iconic figure.

Someone would put his name on Sunday sauce or wine or a restaurant. Oh wait, they have. This is Connecticut. Check please?

What he has done for his sport, and his school, is remarkable. Women’s basketball is a heavy thing to lift and frankly he hasn’t had much help over the last 15 years. But there he is, with nine national championships, one world championship and one Olympic gold medal, many of the greatest players in the game’s history by his side, holding the sport – collegiate, professional and international – over his head.

So here’s what I have to say to UConn fans, some of the most loyal, fervent, but occasionally spoiled in the world. Take a second to take…this…all…in.

Sit back and savor the gifts of nine national championships and five undefeated seasons and national players of the year.

Don’t tie yourself into knots worrying about the little stupid things, like why there was only one freshman last year or why this or that happens or doesn’t. Let Geno and Chris Dailey worry about it. They have it covered quite nicely.

It is going to end someday. Even Geno said so. It has to. Nothing sustains, lasts forever. Not even Mad Men. Someday, UConn may be just another competitive program fighting to get to the Final Four, not one able to order room service for the 2015 Final Four before the regular season even starts.

Thank you for coming. Drive home safely. Enjoy the day. Beware of clowns.

 

Another Great Year For The Coach And His Program

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma Date:

Playing for Geno Auriemma is not easy. And it shouldn’t be, or so say those who fully subscribe to the risk-reward theory of finding success.
But that’s not really the point now, while the state celebrates his record ninth women’s basketball championship.
“It means we’ve done something that no one else has ever done,” Auriemma said. “So you’re flattered and you’re grateful and you’re all the things that come with this kind of accomplishment.  Of course.  That’s not the driving force.  That’s not what motivates us at Connecticut.”
The point is playing for him seems more than worth it to the players who migrate from cities and suburbs to run through walls, metaphorical and otherwise, for him.
You could see that in the UConn locker room after Tuesday’s 79-58 win over the Notre Dame in the national championship game in Nashville.

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Geno Auriemma Responds To Muffet McGraw

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma Date:

Geno Auriemma responded directly to Muffet McGraw’s comment today that it was too late for a sense of civility to return the relationship the UConn and Notre Dame programs – and their coaches – share.

“When you play as often as we have in such a short period of time, i think a lot of things happen that wouldn’t happen if you didn’t.
“Look, no one knows what its like being us, what we go through every day, what our players go through, how every time they win an award how every else is pissed off? And the worst part is they act pissed off because [they believe] its all Connecticut all the time. Yes, people are sick of it. So this [the hostility] is just natural, but we live with it every day, 365 days a year.
“Why is she angry? I don’t know. You have to ask her. I haven’t changed in 25 years. People that know me understand I haven’t changed. How I run my program hasn’t changed, the respect we have for everyone else hasn’t changed.
“We think we are the best basketball team in the country, but we don’t flaunt it. I haven’t changed. But a funny thing happens to people once they start beating us.”

Geno (And USA Basketball) Love Kayla McBride

by Categorized: 2014 NCAA women's tournament, Geno Auriemma, Kayla McBride, UConn women's basketball, USA Basketball Date:

After competing against him for three years, helping to beat his team more frequently than anyone in recent history, Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride was somewhat at a loss for words in a huddle at USA Basketball camp listening to its national coach, Geno Auriemma.
“I was definitely different,” McBride said Saturday. “It was a little weird knowing I go to Notre Dame. But it was a great opportunity. He is the Olympic coach for a reason. Being able to learn some things from him was a great opportunity for me to have.”
Auriemma loved what he saw from McBride during the brief weekend the team met in Las Vegas last October. It was the same camp UConn’s Breanna Stewart, Stefanie Dolson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis attended.

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Lawson Says Stanford Has Best Shot At UConn

by Categorized: 2014 NCAA women's tournament, ESPN, Geno Auriemma, Kara Lawson Date:

Stanford’s lineup, while not has deep, does mirror-image UConn’s in many important ways. The Cardinal has senior Chiney Ogwumike, perhaps the most forceful player in the nation this season. She is averaging 26.4 points, 12.1 rebounds and plays with such boundless energy that it’s a sure bet the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun will take her first the first pick in next week’s draft.

ESPN’s Kara Lawson believes Stanford’s chances of beating UConn are greater than either Notre Dame or Maryland, the winner of whom would the Huskies in the championship game

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Geno Aureimma Says Don’t Look Down

by Categorized: 2014 NCAA women's tournament, Geno Auriemma Date:

Geno Auriemma subscribes to the view most coaches share that winning the Elite Eight game is much more difficult, in many respects, than succeeding in the Final Four.
It’s just always been my experience,” Auriemma said. “I like to read books. As coaches, we have a lot of airplane time, bus time, whatever. It’s like when you
read about people who climb Mount Everest. You know? They get to where it’s 500, 600 feet away from the top and that’s when most accidents happen. That’s when most people die. That’s because you can see the end. You can see the result of all of your hard work. But now is when you have to be the most careful.
“So here you are, you are one game away from the Final Four. That’s every kid’s dream when you go to college. You’re right there. You are right on
the edge. And it affects people in different ways. That’s why I think it’s difficult.”
Best wishes
After the completion of their practice Sunday, the UConn women watched the end of the men’s Elite Eight and then recorded a short video of congratulations for them to see. … The proposed UConn men’s and women’s double-header, to be played at either Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Center in Brooklyn next season, is apparently gaining moment but appears contingent, as usually is the case, on finding opponents attractive enough to entice the facilities approval.

Gary Blair’s Perspective On UConn Is Worth Hearing

by Categorized: Gary Blair, Geno Auriemma, UConn football, UConn men's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

From a reporter’s standpoint, there is no better way to spend 15 minutes – you pick the city and the day – than listening to Texas A&M coach Gary Blair, a legit Hall of Famer, talk about basketball (and baseball) and the way things are. The man has been a head coach since 1973, a head coach since 1985 at Stephen F. Austin. He has street credibility.

And there he was Sunday sitting on the dais at the Lincoln regional, getting ready again to play UConn in Monday’s Elite Eight game.

One of the things I often wonder about is what the long-range impact being in the American Athletic Conference will have on UConn women’s basketball. It doesn’t matter what I think. So I asked someone who might know better than I.

“In my opinion, it seems similar to what it was back in the day at Louisiana Tech [where Blair served as an assistant from 1980-85] … At some point it became harder for Leon Barmore [their coach] to get the games he needed to inspire himself and his team to play at the highest level. It was harder for him to convince the great players to come to LA Tech. They began going to places [in the bigger conference] where there were charter flights and better meal money and where everything was bigger. “It [sustainability] can still be done [anywhere], but we’re not letting him in the SEC, I’ll tell you that,” Blair said smiling. “They will not be coming in.

“And I think what is likely holding UConn back is the football program. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how good their basketball teams or other teams are; football pays the bills and until they improve their football, they probably won’t be invited to play in the right conference.
“Can they [the American] steal a few teams to come to their conference? Who knows, that’s beyond my pay scale. But I’ll tell you this, we [UConn and Texas A&M] will play each other [in the regular season]. There’s many teams who won’t, but we will.

“The respect Geno has in the game is why people will play him. It’s good for the game. I’d love to play him every year, in the Elite Eight or Final Four, that is. But I wouldn’t mind starting another series with him and I am sure you will eventually see Tennessee back with them, too.
“Geno does not need to play non-conference games against the bottom half [teams] in major conferences. He needs to play team’s in the top third of the six major conferences, not including his.
“And what we need to do for parity is play games like this in January and February for television’s sake. I know its going to hurt us more than it will hurt him. All Geno needs to do is play three games in a week to have one great one to make his team better. But that’s no sweat off his back. He will figure it out, don’t worry.”

 

 

 

 

The “New” Mosqueda-Lewis Looks Good Now – And Likely Later

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, UConn women's basketball Date:

No college program is more accustomed to focusing on the present than the UConn women. In fact, their ability to narrow their gaze is largely responsible for the presents piled up in their big trophy case back home.
But during this season’s NCAA Tournament, the play of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis has provided a small glimpse into what life may be like next season, when Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley are gone and she is left to direct, score, rebound and then elaborate.
“I think when players get a little bit older, they start to see things that they don’t see when they are younger,” Geno Auriemma said. “One of the dangers is, when you are a great shooter when you are young, you don’t feel the need to do anything else. Every level you have played, everyone knows you can shoot. So you go to practice every day and you work on your shooting; because that is what you are good at and it is easy. As you get older, you realize that there is a lot more to the game of basketball than just shooting the ball, and it is fun.”
For the last two games, Mosqueda-Lewis has been having a blast. She recorded a triple-double in Tuesday’s second-round win over St. Joseph’s and followed it up with a 19-point, 13-rebound effort in Saturday’s tense 70-51 win over BYU in the regional semifinal.
Now it is Texas A&M (27-8) that wonders what’s in store Monday when the Huskies (37-0) and Aggies play for the right to go to the Final Four next weekend in Nashville.

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