Category Archives: Jose Fernandez

Geno Has Literally Felt Jose Fernandez’ Pain

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, Jose Fernandez, South Florida women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

Geno Auriemma genuinely respects South Florida’s veteran coach, Jose Fernandez. Besides basketball, they have many things in common that bond them; a gregarious personality, a love for the game, a taste for wine and fine cigars. And a medical issue.

“He’s a really good guy who has done a lot for the game,” Auriemma said. “He’s been tremendously successful at South Florida. He’s done a lot for that program. He also does a lot for the WBCA and the coaches in our conference [the American Athletic Conference]. He’s just a guy who cares a lot about what’s going on.”
But for a while last week it was uncertain whether Fernandez would even be at Sunday’s game against No. 1 UConn (25-0) at the Sun Dome.

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USF’s Jose Fernandez Says “100 Percent” He’ll Coach Sunday Against UConn

by Categorized: Jose Fernandez, South Florida women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

 We told you earlier that South Florida coach Jose Fernandez hasn’t been feeling well for the last few weeks. He’s been dealing with a number of issues relating to diverticulitis that has resulted in his hospitalization.

I just spoke to him and he said he feeling’s better and is “100 percent” certain he will coach Sunday’s game against UConn in Tampa. And that is very good news for all those who have come to know and respect him over the years.

“After my game on January 29, I saw our team doctor,” Fernandez said. “I had some pain in my abdominal region; they thought I was having appendix issues.  After going through tests it was determined that I had another bout of diverticulitis and also the area where I had a hernia removed this past May was inflamed. I was admitted into the hospital and stayed there until Friday night. I should not have gone home, but I was trying to make the trip to Louisville which I did not.

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Wishing Jose Fernandez A Speedy Recovery

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Geno Auriemma, Jose Fernandez, UConn women's basketball Date:

When you’ve been a head coach for 29 years, like Geno Auriemma has, you shake hands with a lot of coaches. Some are perfunctory gestures, motivated by sportsmanship and decorum. Others are heartfelt, gestures of friendship and camaraderie.
Auriemma genuinely likes and respects South Florida’s veteran coach, Jose Fernandez. Besides basketball, they have many things in common that bond them; a gregarious personality, a love for the game, a taste for wine and fine cigars.

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Starting Tuesday, It’s Officially Game On For Mohegan Sun And The American

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Big East women's basketball, Danielle Donehew, Jose Fernandez, Mitchell Etess, Mohegan Sun Arena, UConn women's basketball, XL Center Date:

On Tuesday morning, Mitchell Etess, chief executive officer of the Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino, convenes his first staff meeting to discuss the promotion and execution of the newest sporting event on his campus.

    The American Athletic Conference’s inaugural postseason women’s basketball tournament will be held at the Mohegan Sun Arena in March 2014.

    For years, Etess had tried to lure the event from Hartford’s XL Center, the host venue since 2004. Not until last year’s breakup of the Big East Conference resulted in the birth of The American’s new conference dynamic was the casino able to prevail for 2014 and likely 2015, although the conference holds the option for the second year.

  South Florida women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez, the president of the Big East’s coaches association for the last two years, is looking forward to it.

“It [moving] has been something the coaches have wanted for a long time,” Fernandez said. “For the last four years we have asked the athletic directors to consider the Mohegan Sun.

“Look, Hartford treated the Big East very, very well over the last nine years. But we thought it was in our best interest as a league [to move]. There were multiple places we could have considered, but it would have been very difficult to ignore that Connecticut possesses an incredible amount of women’s basketball fans.

 “Mohegan was the best option for us now. It’s going to be great. It’s the home of a WNBA team [the Connecticut Sun]. It’s a destination that fans want to visit and enjoy. It was a logical move.”

   The moving delay brought about by the stern objections of many of the presidents representing the old Big East, the majority of them Catholic institutions who felt the casino setting was unsavory.

 “From a conference perspective, the idea is to represent the goals and aspirations of the membership as a whole,” said Danielle Donehew, the American’s associate commissioner for women’s basketball, who served in the same position for the former Big East.

  “The discussion was an important one. The event is one of the major assets we manage for the membership. Discussion about [where to host] needs to happen every few years to make sure membership is happy with the way things are going and offer the chance to continue or change things.

“Our past group was not comfortable with considering a casino site, but the new members at the table know that other national conferences are already hosting at casino sites. It’s a different time now and our members have now decided it was a decision [to move to Mohegan] they were comfortable making.”

   The American coaches and athletic directors feel the Mohegan Sun, with its wealth of on-site housing and entertainment options, will give more fans incentive to travel.

   Conference demographic studies show few out-of-state fans, outside of close family, traditionally traveled to Hartford despite aggressive marketing initiatives.

  “We also provide other ancillary benefits that help make all the events we have here successful; free parking, easy access to restaurants and so forth,” Etess said. “I would think The American is thinking, ‘We can enhance our revenue by selling more tickets and reduce our overhead because it’s cheaper to operate here [than in Hartford].”

  But the decision also came down to money – big money. According to sources, the old Big East wasn’t making enough of it in Hartford.

“We have always felt, even from the previous time when we weren’t accepted by the Big East, that it was unlikely the XL Center could have provided a better financial package than us,” Etess said.

 Etess would not say what specific financial incentives were offered to The American. But its arena’s overhead is relatively small; its operating company owns the arena and employs all the security and staff that cares and protects it.  The XL Center relies on union employees and comparatively expensive city police and fire protection.

  The Mohegan Sun also does not charge for patron parking. Sites around Hartford were charging up to $15 a day, almost matching the package ticket price ($99) the Big East was charging for the entire five-day tournament.

  The casino can also assist The American promote with its multi-million advertising and marketing initiatives.

  “I think the teams [in the American] are going to find fans interested in coming here,” Etess said. “We don’t make bad [financial] decisions for us and it [the casino’s deal] was appealing to them. I would call it “competitive.”

 “We don’t look at this as we would a convention. We look at this as a major event.”

   The effort of the XL Center to retain the tournament was somewhat hampered by the timing of the shift in management to Global Spectrum, which was awarded control of the building and Rentschler Field in February. The company is still in the process of setting up shop.

   “As a result, it was difficult for us to try to project what our expenses might be, or to even to present an accurate proposal for consideration,” said Chris Lawrence, who will manage XL Center for Global. “We put an aggressive bid together and The American, sensing they were in a little bit of a transition period as well, made the decision to try something new and see how it works out.

 “When the contract comes around again we’ll certainly be as aggressive as we possibly can to bring the women and the men. We couldn’t worry about that. Our focus was entirely on what Hartford had to offer and we feel it has a lot to offer.”

  Lawrence also wouldn’t specify what the XL Center was charging or would charge the conference to hold the event. But public records about what UConn pays to operate at the XL Center and Rentlschler provide a window to the bottom line.

  For men’s and women’s basketball games last season, UConn paid AEG Management $48,000 per event, but a sliding scale was in place for that would have increased the rental to $55,000 had UConn cut back its schedule of Hartford games. For football, the cost was $170,000 per game.

  “What’s been misconstrued is there is a tremendous economic benefit to having the tournament [at Mohegan] that just doesn’t benefit us,” Etess said. “The prosperity and money the tournament brought to Hartford will bring the same to businesses that surround us.

  “Not everyone will stay here [at the Mohegan Sun hotel]. We don’t have enough rooms. And not everyone wants to stay here. Hotels and restaurants in this county will be doing big business because of the tournament.

 “When I hear the loss of the tournament is costing Hartford something like $2 million, I understand that. But it’s not revenue that is leaving the state. It’s far better the tournament is here than in Memphis or elsewhere.”











Inside The Margins Of Val Ackerman’s “White Paper”

by Categorized: 2014 Women's Final Four, American Athletic Conference, Anucha Browne, Big East women's basketball, ESPN2, Geno Auriemma, Jeff Walz, Jose Fernandez, UConn women's basketball, Val Ackerman, WBCA Date:

   Under the NCAA umbrella for 32 years, women’s college basketball is barely half the age of their men, who just celebrated its 75th anniversary as championship partners with the governing body of collegiate athletics.

    The sport has sought a singular vision, a steadying voice accenting its strength, diminishing its weakness, bolstering what languishes.

  So far, unification efforts have proven uneven. They’ve led to brief ascents dashed by long rides on a straight path where slight gains are wiped out by slim losses.

  Like its players, the sport is in need a team game, as opposed to one alternately dominated by many individual points of view.

  Last week, the direction may have finally changed.

  Val Ackerman, the WNBA’s founding president and former head of USA Women’s Basketball, now rumored to be the first commissioner of the reconstructed Big East conference, released her “White Paper.”

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The American Way: Follow The Money To Mohegan Sun

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, American Athletic Conference, Danielle Donehew, Jeff Walz, Jose Fernandez, Louisville women's basketball, Mohegan Sun Arena, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

   More information is beginning to emerge regarding the decision of The American Athletic Conference to hold its first women’s basketball tournament at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

  You’ll recall, especially if you enjoyed dining near the XL Center in Hartford, that the Big East conducted the tournament there for the last nine years.

  But in March 2014, and maybe March 2015, it will be played at the home of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.

 Why did it leave Hartford? Well, primarily because of money.

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