Geno Auriemma
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Geno Auriemma
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  • Bio Info:
    Geno Auriemma is the head coach of the University of Connecticut Huskies women's basketball team, whom he has led to seven National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I national championships (in 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010). He has won six national Naismith College Coach of the Year awards.

    Auriemma immigrated with his family to Norristown, Pennsylvania when he was seven years old, and spent the rest of his childhood there. After graduating from West Chester University of Pennsylvania in 1977, Auriemma was hired as an assistant coach at Saint Joseph's University, where he worked in 1978 and 1979. He then took a two-year absence from college basketball, serving as an assistant coach at his former high school, Bishop Kenrick, before assuming an assistant coaching position with the University of Virginia Cavaliers in 1981. Auriemma became a naturalized United States citizen in 1994, noting in his autobiography that he finally decided to naturalize when his UConn team was slated to tour Italy that summer and he was concerned about potential problems because he had never done any required national service.

    Before Auriemma, the Huskies had posted just one winning season in their entire history. As was true at many schools at the time, Connecticut did not have a strong commitment to women's sports. Both players and coaches had to scrape for facilities and resources. Eventually, some students wishing to form a soccer team threatened to sue the university. The Trustees went on record supporting women's sports, and the administration decided to provide more support, especially for sports with a potential for revenue, such as women's basketball. The decision to hire a new coach was part of this commitment to strengthen the women's sports at Connecticut.

    Connecticut quickly rose to prominence after Auriemma was hired in August 1985: they finished 12–15 in Auriemma's first season, his only losing season at Connecticut. Since then, Connecticut has finished above .500 for 24 consecutive seasons, including four undefeated seasons (1994–95, 2001–02, 2008–09, and 2009–10) and at least 2 NCAA record streaks of 90 and 70 consecutive wins. At end of the 2009–2010 season, Auriemma's record as a head coach was 735-122, for an .858 winning percentage.
    Auriemma is also known for cultivating individual players, and the Ten multiple-All-America players whom Auriemma has coached have combined to win six Naismith College Player of the Year awards, six Wade Trophies, and seven NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player awards. (The UConn athletics website also notes that, through 2006–07, every recruited freshman who has finished her eligibility at Storrs has graduated with a degree.)

    The rivalry between the Huskies and the University of Tennessee Lady Vols has extended to Auriemma's relationship with Volunteers counterpart Pat Summitt; the two, through print and broadcast media, are often at odds. At the end of the 2009–2010 season, Auriemma had slightly surpassed Summitt among active Division I coaches for career winning percentage, with Auriemma at .858 and Summitt at .841. Summitt has one more National Championship than Auriemma, however. Rumors of tension between Auriemma and men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun were widely circulated, but the two apparently reconciled after the teams won national championships, on consecutive nights, in 2004.

    Auriemma was a member of the inaugural class (2006) of inductees to the University of Connecticut women's basketball "Huskies of Honor" recognition program. Also in 2006, Auriemma was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee.

    Auriemma served as an assistant coach to the gold medalist 2000 U.S. Olympic Team. On April 15, 2009 he was selected to lead USA Basketball Women's National Team in the 2010 FIBA World Championship in the Czech Republic and if the USA qualifies, he will coach the team in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England.

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