Category Archives: Tennessee women’s basketball

Geno Auriemma On Dealing With Pressure And Expectation

by Categorized: duke women's basketball, Geno Auriemma, Harry Perretta, Tennessee women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

If you haven’t already figured this out, Geno Auriemma doesn’t deal with pressure and expectation the way most coaches do.

And he says he did not develop his serenity lesson plan yesterday, or last month or in 2000 or even in 1995 when beating Tennessee twice turned his program into a comet that still burns.

More than that, he doesn’t think much or care about how his rivals prepare for his teams. He figures his teams are good enough to handle whatever is thrown at them.

But don’t take it from me. I am just the messenger. Take your seats. Open your notebooks (or laptops). Class is in session:

Continue reading

Warlick Says She Had Brief Peace “Summitt” With UConn – But No Game Planned

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

  Tennessee women’s basketball coach Holly Warlick admitted Monday in an interview with the Associated Press that she approached UConn about the possibility of resuming the long-latent series between the two national powerhouses.

  But it’s extremely unlikely that it will happen – mostly because Tennessee isn’t really interested in the concept.

  Geno Auriemma and Warlick were photographed together at last month’s Women’s Hall of Fame ceremony in Knoxville. Both were smiling. That indicated to some a possible break in the ice between the programs dating to Pat Summitt’s decision in 2007 to end the series.

Warlick told the Associated Press that she mentioned to Auriemma she’d like to talk about a resumption, at some point, but then added the talks haven’t progressed since then.

“I don’t think it’s going to work out,” Warlick told The Associated Press Monday. “I don’t know. I’ve put it out there. We haven’t discussed it since.”

Continue reading

Tennessee-UConn? Forget It

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun, Holly Warlick, Pat Summitt, Tennessee women's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

Was roaming around the web this afternoon – what else to do on a rainy day – and noticed this piece on that mentioned the possibility of UConn and Tennessee playing again some day in the regular season.

I had to look because I would love it if it happened.

But I need to tell you this: Earlier this week I called Tennessee after seeing a picture of Geno and Holly Warlick in the Knoxville News taken on Women’s Hall of Fame induction night last Saturday.

They were smiling. Broadly. I grew hopeful. Peace at last.

So I called Tennessee on Monday and asked if I could speak to Warlick to ask her if this picture meant good things for the renewal of the series that ended in 2007.

Tennessee would not even put her on the phone.

I was told the program had made a statement in May saying the series would not be renewed and they were sticking to their story.

So take that for what its worth. I have been told by a few people that ride the fence in this rivalry, meaning they don’t take partisan sides, that Warlick will not reschedule UConn out of respect to Coach Summitt’s wishes.

And as long as Coach Summitt is anywhere near the program, it is not expected to happen – not for the good of the game, not to promote the Summitt’s charity, not if ESPN crawls to Knoxville on its knees.

So be it, Tennessee. Good luck to you.

UConn likely will be there in March playing for a ninth national title, not the least bit exhausted from its season in The American.

Maybe the Lady Vols will be, too.

Kara Lawson To Win WNBA’s Dawn Staley Award

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun, Kara Lawson, Pat Summitt, Tennessee women's basketball, WNBA Date:

The WNBA will annnounce later today that Connecticut Sun guard Kara Lawson is the recipient of the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award in recognition of her community service. Named after the former WNBA and Olympic star – and current South Carolina coach – the award seeks to recognize a player whose outreach inspires others.

During the 2012 season, Lawson donated $50 for each three-pointer made to the Pat Summitt Foundation in honor of her collegiate coach. Summitt was diagnosed with early-onset dementia.  Lawson, however, inspired by her former coach wanted to do more than donate money; she immersed herself in a cause with the goal of inspiring others.  Summitt, the legendary coaching figure who guided the Tennessee women’s basketball program to 1,098 wins and eight national championships, announced she was stepping down from the Lady Vols in April of 2012. 

 The Pat Summitt Foundation seeks to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s, its causes and help work towards a cure.  For 2012, Lawson finished the season with a team-record 74 3-pointers, and her donation was matched by the Connecticut Sun Foundation, the Mohegan Tribe as well as others and fan donations.  In total, the three-point campaign raised 32,000.

  In January of 2013, Lawson was named an honorary co-chair of the Pat Summitt Foundation Advisory Board.


Auriemma Joins The Big Boys (And Pat Summitt) With His New Deal

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

After UConn defeated his team by 68 points in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last week at Gampel Pavilion, Idaho coach Jon Newlee compared Geno Auriemma to James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, and UCLA coach John Wooden, its renown wizard.

On Tuesday, UConn made sure Auriemma was paid like it.

Auriemma and the UConn have agreed to a five-year contract extension that will run through 2017-18 and take Hall of Fame coach to his 64th birthday.

Auriemma will earn $10.8 million, not including bonuses, making him the highest paid women’s basketball coach in the history of the game. His last deal paid him $8 million over five years.

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt signed a five-year extension in February 2009 that paid $1.4 million in 2008-09. She also received a $200,000 bonus when she won her 1,000th game that year.

Continue reading

Melanie Balcomb Enterains The Crowd

by Categorized: 2013 Big East Tournament, Melanie Balcomb, SEC, Tennessee women's basketball Date:

One of the nice things about the NCAA Tournament is having the chance to talk to other coaches, perhaps even learn a few things about them and their personalities.

Sunday provided that with Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb, a Jersey girl who left Xavier 11 years ago to take the Commodores job and has helped preserve the presence the program has held in the SEC.

Balcomb, who once worked for Providence in Big East, was joking around about her Jersey accent and getting used to distinct Southern drawl that’s part of life in Nashville.

But she also had some serious things to say about a lot of things. Like the night in 1999 when her Xavier team lost to UConn at in the NCAA Tournament in 1999, 86-84.

“I don’t remember what I said to my team that night,” Balcomb said. “I was thinking about it, trying to recall what I said to prepare them mentally that night. What was the formula? Did I try to pass along a special confidence.

“I find myself comparing the team I had that night to the one I have now. Did UConn have a better team then or now? I don’;t have the answer. I was I did. I have to get a better feel for this team, where it’s at, like I had for that team [Xavier] and try to get into its head.”

Here’s what she had to say about conference realignment and the impact it might have on recruiting:

“I don’t recruit for the conference [SEC] so much. I get players from all over the nation because of the academics we have to offer. My team isn’t constructed primarily from players from the south.

“There is an element [to recruiting] that’s about rivalries and geography; whether a player is willing to leave home and how far they are willing to go. Geno can draw kids from everywhere, so I don’t believe he will see any impact.

“But I can already tell you I’ve noticed some players based in Atlanta that are canceling out teams based on conferences. A team like Maryland, no longer playing in the ACC and headed to the Big Ten, will make some kids decide if they want to go to a place where their parents won’t be able to see them play on a regular basis.”

And most interesting, her perception of how things have changed at Tennessee since Pat Summitt’s retirement after last year:

“I think it has already impacted Tennessee because Pat is a legend. She’s the John Wooden of our game. How could her absence not [have some sort of impact], but its over a long period of time when we’ll be able to determine what that will be. You’d have to by lying to say that Pat not being at Tennessee wouldn’t have an impact. Do you think Geno leaving UConn wouldn’t have an impact? Sure it would.

“Holly Warlick has done a great job at Tennessee. I am a huge fan of hers. What she did this year, winning the coach of the year [in the SEC] was phenomenal. But that’s not the question you asked.”



Geno Offers Little Response To Summitt’s Book

by Categorized: Big East women's basketball, Geno Auriemma, Pat Summitt, Tennessee women's basketball Date:

Geno Auriemma said Thursday that he hadn’t read the passages in Pat Summitt’s book that refer to her relationship with him and the UConn women’s basketball program.

Six pages in Summitt’s new book “Sum It Up” go into detail about the UConn-Tennessee rivalry and the up and down relationship the two Hall of Fame coaches have had during Auriemma’s career.

Summitt was mostly complimentary, although she did say she stopped playing UConn before Maya Moore’s career began because she was upset about some of the recruiting tactics used by the program. Summitt offered no specifics, however.

It should be noted that UConn was essentially cleared by the NCAA of any wrong-doing in Moore’s recruitment, which was categorized as a secondary violation. The university helped organize a visit to ESPN for Maya and her mother when she was in high school.

She also said she was upset with Auriemma about an incident surrounding a Tennessee loss to Xavier a few years back. Summitt said word got back to her that Geno had predicted the Lady Vols would lose and that Summitt “would throw her players under the bus” after it. Summitt said she communicated with Auriemma via a fax to see if the allegation was correct and that he didn’t respond.

The note, which Summitt says appeared to be in Auriemma’s handwriting, read: “I predicted Tennessee would lose to Xavier, and I also predicted Pat would blame her team instead of herself.”

She writes that she faxed it to Geno, asked what was up and never got a response.

The other incident, according to Summitt, happened in a restaurant. Auriemma apparently was calling Summitt’s name in such a manner that the Lady Vols coach felt compelled to leave the facility.

“He made me so uncomfortable by shouting my name derisively that I left the premises,” Summitt wrote.

“I don’t remember anything about either of those incidents [Xavier and the restaurant],” Auriemma said Thursday. “If you would tell where, when or at what time, I might be able to remember. But I don’t remember.”

Summitt said her relationship with Auriemma has been on the upswing lately, especially after he donated $10,000 to her charity devoted to researching Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“Once basketball is not involved, sure, I would agree with that [the relationship is better],” he said. “Sure. Absolutely.”

The book, written with Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, is due to be released March 5.