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.