It turns out coaching the USA Basketball women’s program for almost four years was like digging into a half-gallon of chocolate mint chip ice cream for Geno Auriemma.
Auriemma adores chocolate mint chip ice cream as much as he does basketball and his beloved Phillies, Flyers and Eagles.
But really, how many scoops can even a Hall of Fame fan eat before the craving subsides?
“After the first bowl, you might not love the second one as much,” said Auriemma on Thursday at Gampel Pavilion.
With that, Auriemma effectively melted the notion that he would consider or accept a second term as coach of the USA senior national team.
“I worked with a great bunch of people during my time, but if you were to ask me right now, today, I would say it’s someone else’s turn,” said Auriemma.
The United States has won the last five Olympic gold medals in women’s basketball with teams led by five different coaches, Tara VanDerveer, Nell Fortner, Van Chancellor, Anne Donovan and Auriemma, UConn’s longtime Hall of Fame coach,
Since the women began playing for gold in 1976, nine different coaches have led the nine teams, counting the late Sue Gunter’s 1980 squad, which did not compete because of the USA boycott of the Moscow summer games.
And with six former UConn players by his side, Auriemma directed a virtual cakewalk through eight Olympic wins. The only blip came in the first half against Australia in the semifinals when the USA trailed. If he wanted to return, the sense is he would have been welcomed to do so.
“Right now, there is zero interest,” said Auriemma. “Everyone has their own reasons for doing things. I was honored and thrilled and glad I did it. I was ecstatic that I was able to experience it and I know how much I enjoyed coaching the perfect blend of players who listened to everything I said.”
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