Category Archives: UConn men’s basketball

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.”

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UConn Women Attain Perfect APR Scores

by Categorized: UConn men's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

All three of UConn’s national championship teams — men’s and women’s basketball and field hockey — achieved perfect APR scores.

The APR tracks the progress of athletes on scholarship, with programs losing points if they become academically ineligible to compete, or leave school with poor academic standing. The UConn men’s basketball team was ineligible for the NCAA Tournament in 2013 due to subpar scores, 844 in 2008-09 and 826 in 2009-2010, which dragged down the program’s four-year rolling average.

NCAA president Mark Emmert offered praise for UConn’s APR turnaround in men’s basketball.

“I was at UConn for four years and like everybody that knows that school well, I was very disappointed so see them have the academic problems they were having,” Emmert said on a conference call with reporters. “But I’ve been equally heartened by the response of the university. The president [Susan Herbst], the athletic director [Warde Manuel], the coaches and most importantly the players have all stepped up and completely changed the academic performance of the team. … Everybody did a remarkable job, and the membership is extremely pleased and proud of it.”

The UConn women’s basketball team has a four-year average of 989, achieving scores of 1,000, 976, 976 and 1,000 over the most recent academic years counted.

Across the country, the APR for Division I athletics was 976, a two-point improvement from last year. Men’s basketball rose from 952 to 957, and football from 949 to 951.

Thirty-six teams from 27 schools, none in Connecticut, fell short of the required 930 four-year average and will be ineligible for postseason play in 2014-15. In men’s basketball, eight Division I teams will be ineligible next season, including Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which played in the NCAA Tournament in 2014.


On Fenway, Fallon And Mohegan Sun

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Jimmy Fallon, Stefanie Dolson, The Tonight Show, UConn men's basketball, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

As we await the decision of A’ja Wilson this afternoon on ESPNU at 3 p.m. ….

The national champion UConn women and men will be heading to Fenway Park on April 22 to be honored by the world champion Red Sox. It is still unclear what kind of ceremony will take place before the game; you know, the first ball thing, who throws it, who catches it…But the Huskies will be there to share and get to see a baseball game. And what is better than that?

Stefanie Dolson [of the Washington Mystics] is still likely to show up on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, at some point, but as you can tell from watching NBC this week the show is already on a hiatus and in repeats. UConn is enlisting the help of NBC Connecticut executives in trying to put the gig together. If you recall, Stef asked Fallon to ‘Hit her up” during her impromptu address to the nation following UConn’s win over ND in the national championship game. Fallon did just that was using the first two minutes of his monologue one night latter to talk about the “Lady” Huskies and Dolson’s invite He invited her to play some one-on-one and XBox. Let’s hope it happens. And now, the WNBA can even help make it happen. It’s legal now.

The Mohegan Sun Arena and the American Athletic Conference will be announcing a one-year extension to their agreement to stage the conference tournament at the casino on Thursday morning. Let’s face it. the tournament would be there FOREVER, but no one is quite clear what UConn’s future is in the AAC and why would Mohegan Sun want a multiple-year deal with the AAC knowing its championship game might between East Carolina and Tulsa someday?

What Do I Think About UConn-Notre Dame?

by Categorized: UConn football, UConn men's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

Glad you asked:

* This dust up between Geno and Muffet is not surprising to me at all. In fact, its quite normal in the human condition. Do you have a rival, professional or personal? Do you say things behind their back or suspect they are doing so about you? Are there people you simply are tired of seeing or dealing with? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you likely already understand why these two have grown apart.

Now, just add the pressure of championship and recruiting competition, the insecurity of having your university’s academic standing discounted and insulted [UConn], the feeling you are being bullied and your players ignored [Notre Dame] and you are left with a script TLC would look at.

* I believe UConn is going to win tonight, but I would not be surprised if it was by less than six points. I love Notre Dame’s team, particularly Kayla McBride, one of my favorite college players in the last two seasons. She is a warrior and the WNBA team that gets her Monday will be one lucky bunch. But I think UConn will win because of its fabulous starting five and its front court experience and brawn.

* I am happy for UConn because of how terribly stupid and short-sided its success makes the Big Ten and ACC look. Can you imagine how dumb the Big Ten, in particular, must feel now about courting Rutgers and Maryland, as if their football programs and footprint in major media markets is so vastly superior to UConn’s.

Thanks to its new AD, who continues to talk and act her way into a contract buyout, the Scarlet Knights don’t compare in any athletic measurable to UConn, particularly in the New York market. Really, Rutgers over UConn? And really, can someone tell me what is so special about Maryland?

Not only did the UConn men kick some NCAA butt on Monday, they helped to humiliate the major conferences who chose to ignore the power of basketball.

But I will say this one more time: The most important man in Connecticut right now is not Geno or Kevin Ollie. It is Bob Diaco, gulp, a Notre Dame guy.

Once UConn wins some football games, the Huskies will be the ones calling the shots.

UConn Basketball: The Center Of The Universe Again

by Categorized: UConn men's basketball, UConn women's basketball Date:

In the ecstatic few moments following the UConn men’s victory over Michigan State Sunday in New York, the one that catapulted them to the Final Four, their friends and peers on the UConn women’s team did what you might expect they would.
“We were in our hotel rooms watching the game,” Stefanie Dolson said. “And as soon as it was over we all ran out into the hallway, screaming and excited. We [the men and women] were texting each other, as they did for us [Monday]. The camaraderie our two teams share is special, something I’m not sure a lot of teams [in the nation] have.”
Of course, there is something else the UConn men and women now share. They both will be playing in the Final Four this weekend after the No. 1 Huskies did their part by beating Texas A&M, 69-54, in the Lincoln regional final.

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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.”





Warde Manuel Thrilled About UConn’s NCAA Run

by Categorized: 2014 NCAA women's tournament, UConn men's basketball, UConn women's basketball, Warde Manuel Date:

There is only one athletic director in NCAA Division I with both basketball teams still in the NCAA Tournament and he arrived at Pinnacle Bank Arena about three hours before UConn’s regional semifinal against BYU on Saturday.
To say UConn’s Warde Manuel is happy about what is happening this week would be an understatement.
“There is a huge benefit to this for us,” Manuel said. “Both our men’s and women’s team have had and sustained excellence. The big benefit is to our fans, our supporters, our students. And it shows the rest of the country the level of commitment to success that we have an institution for a number of our different programs.”

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Geno Auriemma And His Original UConn Time Line

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, Genos1000th, UConn men's basketball Date:

Geno Auriemma coaches his 1,000th game at UConn on Feb. 22 at Houston. To commemorate the milestone, the Hartford Courant will occasionally publish a memory or remembrance of the Hall of Fame coach from someone who helped play a role in his journey.

This is his 29th season as UConn coach, a remarkable span for anyone in any job. But if you thought he expected to be here for this long, you probably sleep next to a pair of blue and white pom-poms.

“What did I expect? Four years. I wanted to be out in four years,” Auriemma said. “I figured it was good enough to try and get one recruiting class through,and win a bunch of games and then go someplace where you can win a lot of games. That was a legitimate expectation level. Who would have gotten up in the morning [in 1985] and said, ‘My goal is to the coach at Connecticut for 30 years? Come on. Who would say that? Who would think that?
Four years was it. And it didn’t change until we went to the Final Four in 1991, even though we won a Big East championship and tournament in the fourth year {1988-89].

“By that time, I began to say, ‘Well, let’s ride this [class] out. I had put a lot of time and effort into the players, like Meghan [Pattyson], Kerry Bascom and Laura [Lishness]. We’d signed Rebecca Lobo and Pam Webber in November [1990].”


Geno Not Surprised Warde Manuel’s A Popular Guy

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, UConn men's basketball, Warde Manuel Date:

Warde Manuel seemed very relaxed Wednesday night, more so than you might suspect after spending his morning fielding texts and e-mails and phone calls from those curious after seeing his name connected with the Virginia Tech athletic director’s job.

Manuel reiterated something he’d said earlier in a prepared statement; that he was happy at UConn and was looking forward to continuing his job trying to help place the university in the best possible spot athletically.

You also got the impression that despite its reputation as a football powerhouse, and its position in the ACC, that Warde didn’t think the Virginia Tech job held any more lure than than the one he already has.

But he also seemed resigned to the reality that over the course of time search committees hired by universities to identify possible job applicants may float his name.

Another not surprised was Geno Auriemma.

“First, it’s his background. At a place like Michigan means that he worked at a university where things are generally perceived to be done the way they’re supposed to be done. It’s a fantastic state university, the highest levels of academics, the highest level of athletics,” Auriemma said. “So now you go to Buffalo which was a horrible situation when he got there and now all of a sudden it’s a great situation.

“Now he’s here, and he’s guiding us through the change in conference, hiring a basketball coach, football coach, building a new practice facility and raising money. People notice. When you do things like that and have that kind of history, people notice. He’s made a lot of great friends in the business and that goes a long way.”




Warde Manuel’s Name Pops Up As Virginia Tech AD Candidate

by Categorized: UConn football, UConn men's basketball, UConn women's basketball, Warde Manuel Date:

Just two years after being named UConn’s athletic director, Warde Manuel has been linked to the soon-to-be vacant AD’s job at Virginia Tech.
A user posting on a website devoted to conversation and coverage of Hokies athletics  – – said Tuesday night  Manuel was on a list of six candidates for the job, along with Chris Plonsky Texas Women’s Director of Athletics, Michael Kelly Chief Operating Officer at College Football Playoff, Whit Babcock University of Cincinnati AD, Jeff Bourne JMU AD, and John Ballein, a VT football administrator.

The report comes from Greg Roberts, a radio personality for WFIR in Virginia. Here is a link to his radio report. Fast forward to the 33-minute mark.

Todd Turner, a former UConn athletic director who has also served in that position in the ACC, SEC and Pac12, is assisting Virginia Tech in its search
Turner founded and runs College Sports Associates, a consulting and executive search firm which since 2010 has been in business helping looking to fill coaches and administrative positions.

Search firms essentially connect schools like headhunters, identifying potential candidates and then trying to work behind the scenes to make matches happen,

Jim Weaver, 68, who has been the Hokies’ AD for 16 years, is retiring at year’s end. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease nine years ago and has struggled since with chronic back and hip pain.
Retiring Virginia Tech president Charles Steger has told Virginia media he hopes to have a new AD in place by February. He has has appointed a search committee of a dozen.

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