Geno Auriemma Does Not Hold Back On Mike Rice

by Categorized: 2013 NCAA Tournament, Geno Auriemma Date:

If you were wondering what Geno Auriemma’s view was on the situation at Rutgers surrounding men’s basketball coach Mike Rice, fired Wednesday for physically and verbally abusing his players, here’s what he said a few minutes ago on the NCAA women’s basketball Final Four conference call:

Rice was fired just one day after ESPN aired video footage of him physically and verbally abusing his players during practice.

“I know each coach has their own line that they think is the acceptable line,’’ Auriemma said. “And that maybe varies by how a coach perceives how they need to coach to get their team to be successful.

“And maybe some coaches are on that line. Some coaches try to stay below that line. I can’t speak for others, for sure. And, believe me, I’ve acted like an idiot at practice more times than I can ever, ever recount. But some of the stuff that I saw …

“I’ve got a friend whose son is on that staff so, obviously, it’s difficult for me thinking about it. But if what I saw is accurate, and I would assume it is, there is no line that could be drawn that would make that behavior acceptable. I don’t know where you would draw the line that you could say, `Well, we were on the line or below the line.’

“From what I’ve seen, that behavior is the kind of behavior that … My son played college basketball. I would not want any of my kids or anybody to be put in that situation. Ever.’’

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29 thoughts on “Geno Auriemma Does Not Hold Back On Mike Rice


    And, believe me, I’ve acted like an idiot at practice more times than I can ever, ever recount.

    1. Everyone is an idiot

      Every coach acts like an idiot in practice. I read an article about what Pat Summitt used to do to her players in practice. She’d make the players run laps continuously until they threw up, among other things. That, to me, is a total abuse of power as well.

    2. The casual observer

      It’s OK for Geno to to act like an idiot at practice but why does he have to carry it over into the big games?

      1. Kermit Callands

        Bcuz he win idiot. Not sure what you really mean, which also lead me to believe you are just not a fan Uconn basketball. 7 championships is not acting like an idiot to me. I call it successfull…

    3. Village Idiot

      Not all coaches are abusive. RU’s Coach was way over the top.
      I disagreed with the crap with Bobby Knight.

      If someone has a video camera/cell phone–you’d better make a check of everyone before practice begin and kick those with recording devices out.

      Every coach goes over the top. It’s how they get the attention of their players–but throwing balls or any thing else is assault and battery with objects and that’s criminal

      Maybe yes maybe no. I know Pat Summitt was mentally abusive with her team–making them have long day practices after losing in the sweet16 when the season was over.
      College kid need better contracts–that protects them from this kind of abuse. Limit the hours they can be held in practices–and when they are out of the NCAA practices have ended for the year.

      1. UConn Husky Fan


        I keenly remember that very same stunt that you discussed in your posting pulled off my Pat Summitt after her team was eliminated early in the NCAA tournament. It happened about 4 or 5 years ago. Summitt called in an ESPN crew to tape her practice which, afterward was shown repeatedly on Sports Center much to Pat’s liking. What was her point? Easy, she just wanted to embarrass and torture her kids and have it appear on ESPN in front of hundreds of thousands of people who watch the network daily. Shortly after that I had a friend of mine whose brother has a daughter. The teenage girl, then was around age 14. She was an up and coming basketball player, quite skilled for her age. The father told me personally that there would be no way he would allow his daughter to ever play at Tennessee under Summitt, all because of her reputation of how she handled her players.

        This past weekend, (for the second time in recent memory) ESPN ran a feature on the current UConn squad doing imitations of Geno, particularly when he gets angry with them at practice. It was hysterical. Stefanie Dolson was simply herself; a roll-on-the-floor with hysterical laughter moment as she “performed” her impression of an angry Geno. Kaleena was funny as was Breanna. Farris, usually very stoic was seen grinning on camera when she recited a particular Geno explosion adding that she feared for his health thinking that he might suffer a heart attack. All of this clearly indicates that this current group of players, while they do respect Geno as a coaching authority, (and probable father type figure as well); still do not take him so seriously to the point where they fear that he would ever become abusive physically or mentally with them. This same feature on ESPN occurred during the tournament back during Renee Montgomery’s senior year and I recall it being even funnier with Maya Moore and Tina Charles doing their imitations of Geno. I could never imagine, 4 or 5 years ago any Tennessee players – Candace Parker quickly comes to mind, going on ESPN and jokingly imitating Pat Summitt revealing how angry and volatile she could get at practice.

        Finally regarding Rice, the Rutgers coach. It is unfathomable that the AD knew about this months ago and did nothing about it. This man had NO BUSINESS being in a authority position with college aged young men. LeBron James said it best in a tweet that was mentioned on Sports Center yesterday: If one of his kids were ever to have played under Rice and he pulled one of those stunts – throwing a ball at them, calling them homophobic names, etc. then LeBron himself admitted that probably would have laid a beat-down on Rice himself; and Lebron is one big dude!

        1. Bracchus

          People who are great at anything often tend to be obsessive about it. The question is where that obsession leads you.

          These coaches want to win. In most cases they are under intense pressure to win. That pressure sometimes gets transferred to student athletes in unacceptable ways.

          Coaches have a lot of power. Like anything else, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Many of these universities and colleges have allowed coaches to become bigger than the school. That is in fortunate.

          The Athletic Director position should periodically attend practices at his/her school unannounced and perhaps unobserved. If they see any coaching behavior that is out of line they should address it immediately.Part of any coaches contract should include an immediate dismissal provision for verbal or physical abuse of any player. Verbal criticism should be related solely to the players performance and not include any derogatory racial or personally demeaning epithets.

          Now, before someone says thatvI have handcuffed the coach, read comments from players who played for John Wooden, the legendary UCLA coach. He achieved a string of championships and never used profanity.

  2. Frank Daigneau

    “acted like an idiot at practice” or not, most of his former players keep coming back, and respect the hell of of him. So I doubt Geno has “crossed that line”.



  4. HarryH

    Let all of us who haven’t acted like idiots at times cast the first ….
    One of the reasons all UCONN WBB players graduate is that Geno doesn’t let them back if they don’t and they ALL want to come back.
    Yup Geno didn’t have to tell us he acts like an idiot at times.

    1. Bracchus

      I am not sure that is the reason that most of his players graduate. Most of them have high GPA’s in the first place, and nobody leaves early to go to the WNBA. Lets not get carried away.

  5. Tony C

    The trouble nowadays, with the game getting so competitive, coaches will be acting even more like idiots to get the competitive advantage. That means even more injuries and a way more physical basketball game and women built like the Amazons of the Nile. As the men’s game evolved to something that doesn’t resemble Naismith’s invention, the women’s game will follow.

  6. Dayong

    I thought Rutgers Men’s basketball program is improving for the last couple years but I the coach’s behavior is unacceptable…Geno is a great coach, must be a great person as well based on what I read about him and his relationsip with his former Uconn players. I still remember when Jamelle Elliott left Uconn became the head coach for Cincinnati, one her introduction day, how many time she broke down in tears when she said how much Uconn and Geno meant to her, great testimony for what kind of person Geno is for his players, coaching staff…


    “And, believe me, I’ve acted like an idiot at practice more times than I can ever, ever recount.”

    In my initial post in this thread, I was NOT saying Geno abused his players. Merely pointing out that Geno is human and finds fault within. Just like most of us do.

    Mike Rice should be put into prison for 1 day or even 1 week. Let him get abused.

  8. Momandapplepie

    I have no family and no friends. For obvious reasons. But if I did, this is how they would describe me.

    Moron, airhead, birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, bubblehead, chowderhead, chucklehead, clodpoll (or clodpole), clot [British], cluck, clunk, cretin, cuddy (or cuddie) [British dialect], deadhead, dim bulb [slang], dimwit, dip, dodo, dolt, donkey, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang], dullard, dumbbell, dumbhead, dum-dum, dummkopf, dummy, dunce, dunderhead, fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit, hammerhead, hardhead, ignoramus, imbecile, jackass, know-nothing, knucklehead, lamebrain, loggerhead [chiefly dialect], loon, lump, lunkhead, meathead, mome [archaic], moron, mug [chiefly British], mutt, natural, nimrod [slang], nincompoop, ninny, ninnyhammer, nit [chiefly British], nitwit, noddy, noodle, numskull (or numbskull), oaf, pinhead, prat [British], ratbag [chiefly Australian], saphead, schlub (also shlub) [slang], schnook [slang], simpleton, stock, stupe, stupid, thickhead, turkey, woodenhead, yahoo, yo-yo

  9. Cliff

    Read “The One Minute Manager”, a very thin book about the basics of being a good coach:

    1. You are more effective teaching a golf swing if you coach them on what to do, not what not to do.

    2. You coach them on what to do 90% of the time. 10% of the time, you can point out the negative, emphatically if need be, but do it quickly and move on.

    Simple, works.

    I guess some coaches haven’t bothered to read this classic.

    1. Steve in Maine

      Great book! I’ve worked for a lot of bosses before and since leaving UConn in ’72 (CLAS), and every one of them would have benefited from this book. (There was also “The One Minute Mother/Father” too, which I also highly recommend.) Basically, catch your employees (or kids) doing something right, and recognize it. AND if you have to take them to task for something, do it in one minute – the first 30 seconds of which is telling them what they did wrong in no uncertain terms, and the last 30 seconds is spent building them back up so they leave with their head high, and not with their tail between their leges, like a whipped pup. From what I understand, it is sort of like Basic Training, eh, Cliff? They tear you completely down, and then build you back up. And, BTW, thank you for your service!

      1. Steve in Maine

        Sorry, the thanks is due John, not Cliff, unless Cliff served, too!

  10. John D

    Geno kinda reminds me of the Drill Sargent I had when I went through US Army basic training back in the Nam era.While he was not physically abusive he sure had the vocabulary and sarcastic comments to go along with it to get the most out of us.He lived and breathed in the motto that was used later by the Army “Be All You Can Be’ and my company was exactly that after our training was completed.Believe me when I say his training method served me well while stationed on the DMZ in Korea & Vietnam in combat.On the other hand we also had drill Sergent’s that were physically and mentally abusive in other units during basic and I can’t speak as to what effect it had on those trainees.Consider me lucky I suppose.

  11. pete

    The only reason this coach was fired was because he used the “H” word which to the left is just as bad as the “Q” word. Anyone who thinks otherwise is in fantasy land

    1. Bracchus

      Really? Did you see the tape? This guy and the AD should be fired. He is lucky some parent or one of the players didn’t kick his arse.

  12. John D

    DIGGENS FOR POY- Did u find your way home yesterday as it appears u were on the wrong website ?

  13. bridget

    drill sargent I do not think so this never should have happened at all and I am glad that they are getting punished for it .do not abuse players ever


    I am prepared to give some reconsideration to the call for the Rutgers A.D. to be fired or resign (which he did earlier today 4/5/13). The President of Rutgers read the AD’s letter of resignation and the President made no comments that there was anything incorrect or a stretch within the letter. What I heard read was that the AD wanted to fire the Coach immediately. While he may have been a pretty good AD he went to people within the Rutgers organization to determine among other things what was allowed under the contract the coach had and all of that legal mumbo jumbo as we like to call it. The indication I heard was that after a review by the Human Resources people and outside counsul and/or investigators and perhaps others, a determination was made to impose the fine and 3 game suspension. So that was not the A.D.’s call. He carried out the orders from up the food chain. Seems to me some people above the AD need to fall on their collective swords and maybe this AD should get his job back. Food for thought!

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