Geno Auriemma

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Geno Auriemma
Geno Auriemma 140507-D-HU462-423 (cropped).jpg
Auriemma in May 2014
Sport(s) Women's college basketball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Connecticut
Biographical details
Born (1954-03-23) March 23, 1954 (age 64)
Montella, Italy
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1978–1979 St. Joseph's (asst.)
1979–1981 Bishop Kenrick HS (asst.)
1981–1985 Virginia (asst.)
1985–current Connecticut
Head coaching record
Overall 931–134 (.874)
Accomplishments and honors
  • 10× NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship (1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015)
  • 2-time American Athletic Conference Regular Season Champions
  • 19-time Big East Regular Season Champions
  • 2-time American Athletic Conference Tournament Champions
  • 18-time Big East Tournament Champions
  • 6× Naismith Coach of the Year (1995, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2008, 2009)[1]
  • WBCA National Coach of the Year (2002, 2008, 2009)[2]
  • AP Coach of the Year (1995, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2011)[3][4]
  • Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame
  • Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
  • National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Luigi "Geno" Auriemma (born March 23, 1954)[5] is an Italian-born American college basketball coach and the head coach of the University of Connecticut Huskies women's basketball team. He has led UConn to ten NCAA Division I national championships, a feat only matched by John Wooden in the sport of basketball, and has won six national Naismith College Coach of the Year awards.[6] Auriemma was also the head coach of the United States women's national basketball team from 2009 to 2014, during which time his teams won the 2010 and 2014 World Championships, and the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics.[7]

He emigrated with his family from Montella in southern Italy to Norristown, Pennsylvania, when he was seven years old, and spent the rest of his childhood there.[8][9] After graduating from West Chester University of Pennsylvania in 1977, Auriemma was hired as an assistant coach[10] 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,[10] before assuming an assistant coaching position with the University of Virginia Cavaliers in 1981. Auriemma became a naturalized United States citizen in 1994 at the age of 40,[11] 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, as he had never done any required national service in his birth country.[12]

For many years, Auriemma and his wife, Kathy, maintained a home in Avalon, New Jersey, to be near their parents in the Philadelphia area.[13]

UConn career

Prior to Auriemma's arrival at Storrs in 1985, the Huskies Women's Basketball team had posted just one winning season in its history. The decision to hire Auriemma as their new coach was part of UConn's commitment to better fund women's sports.[14] Auriemma was the last of a series of interviews conducted by the search staff. Most of the other candidates were highly qualified coaches, and most were female. One of those included in the interview process was Chris Dailey, who would become Auriemma's assistant and is currently the associate head coach at UConn. Dailey was identified as the candidate likely to receive an offer if Auriemma turned down the offer.[15]

Connecticut quickly rose to prominence after Auriemma was hired in August 1985. After finishing 12–15 in Auriemma's first season, his only losing season, Connecticut has finished above .500 for 28 consecutive seasons, including five undefeated seasons (1994–95, 2001–02, 2008–09, 2009–10 and 2013–14) and two NCAA record streaks of 90 and 70 consecutive wins.[16] On December 21, 2010, Auriemma led UConn to its 89th consecutive victory, one more than the all-time NCAA men's wins record of 88 held by UCLA;[17] the streak ended at 90 wins.[18][19]

At the end of the 2014–15 season, Auriemma's record as a head coach was 917–134, for an 87.3 winning percentage. That winning percentage is the highest among Division I active coaches.[20] His career in Storrs also includes 19 seasons with 30 or more wins.[21] UConn has won ten national championships under Auriemma (1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015)[22] and made the Final Four 16 times[21] (1991, 1995, 1996, 2000–2004, 2008–2015). Auriemma has also guided UConn to 20 Conference regular season titles and 19 Conference Tournament titles.

The team has been especially successful on its home court in the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion on the UConn campus in Storrs, Connecticut, and in the larger XL Center in Hartford; they tied an NCAA women's basketball record with 69 consecutive home wins between 2000 and 2003. That record was broken in 2011. The last home loss was to Villanova in the game that ended their 70-game winning streak. Moreover, between Auriemma's arrival and the close of the 2005 season, UConn won 295 games versus just 31 losses. The team has set Big East Conference records for both single-game and season-long attendance.

Auriemma is also known for cultivating individual players, and the 12 multiple-All-America players — Rebecca Lobo, Jennifer Rizzotti, Kara Wolters, Nykesha Sales, Svetlana Abrosimova, Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles, Maya Moore, Stefanie Dolson, and Bria Hartley — whom Auriemma has coached have combined to win eight Naismith College Player of the Year awards, seven Wade Trophies, and nine 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.)

Since achieving its first #1 ranking in the 1994–95 season, UConn under Auriemma is 186-10 when playing as the nation's #1 team. At the end of the 2009–10 season, he had a record of 127-52 against top 25 opponents and a 57-35 record against top 10 opponents. He won his 600th game on New Year's Eve 2006, accomplishing the feat in 716 games, tying him with Phillip Kahler for the fastest women's basketball coach to reach that milestone. Auriemma won his 700th game on November 27, 2009 in 822 total games, becoming the fastest head coach to that milestone in the history of college basketball at any level, men or women. He is now one of eight active women's college basketball coaches to have 700 or more wins.[20] Auriemma became the sixth coach in women's basketball history to reach 800 career victories on March 6, 2012, also reaching 800 career wins faster than any coach in the history of college basketball men or women at any division level in just 928 career games. On February 3, 2015, Coach Auriemma notched his 900th victory in only 1,034 games, reaching this milestone also faster than any college coach in history. Auriemma was a member of the inaugural class (2006) of inductees to the University of Connecticut women's basketball "Huskies of Honor" recognition program.[23]


The rivalry between the Huskies and the University of Tennessee Lady Vols extended to Auriemma's relationship with since-retired Volunteers counterpart Pat Summitt. The two, through print and broadcast media, were often at odds. At the end of the 2009–10 season, Auriemma had slightly surpassed Summitt among active Division I coaches for career winning percentage, with Auriemma at 85.8 and Summitt at 84.1.[citation needed] In 2007, Summitt, who believed Auriemma had used less-than-honorable tactics in his successful recruitment of Maya Moore, canceled the yearly game between the two programs.[24]

Former UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun has been called Auriemma's "unfriendly rival", and he once mocked the women’s team’s fan base as the "world’s largest nursing home."[25] When asked about their relationship in 2001, Auriemma said, "Jim has a problem with anyone else's success, not just ours. Do we get along? No, but we don't have to."[26]

USA Basketball

Auriemma was named head coach of the USA women's team that competed in the Junior World Championship in Brno, Czech Republic during July 2001. The team won its first five games, including a record-setting win against Mali. The 97–27 final score represented the largest margin of victory by a USA team in Junior World Championship history. The preliminary round results qualified the team for the medal rounds, where they faced the host team, the Czech Republic. With a home crowd cheering them on, the Czech team won 92–88 and went on to beat Russia 82–80 to win the gold medal. The USA team beat Australia 77–72 to win the bronze medal. Diana Taurasi was the leading scorer for the USA with 19.3 points per game, while Alana Beard was close behind with 18.0 points per game. Nicole Powell was the leading rebounder for the USA, with seven rebounds per game.[27]

Auriemma was named head coach of the USA Women's National team in preparation for competition in the 2010 World Championships and 2012 Olympics. Because many team members were still playing in the WNBA until just prior to the event, the team had only one day of practice with the entire team before leaving for Ostrava and Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. Even with limited practice, the team managed to win its first games against Greece by 26 points. The team continued to dominate with victory margins exceeding 20 points in the first five games. Several players shared scoring honors, with Swin Cash, Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi, Lindsay Whalen, and Sylvia Fowles all ending as high scorer in the first few games. The sixth game was against undefeated Australia — the USA jumped out to a 24-point lead and won 83–75. Team USA won its next two games by over 30 points, then faced the host team, the Czech Republic, in the championship game. The USA team had only a five-point lead at halftime, which was cut to three points, but the Czechs never got closer. Team USA went on to win the championship and gold medal.[28]

Head coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Connecticut (Big East Conference) (1985–2013)
1985–86 Connecticut 12–15 4–12 7th
1986–87 Connecticut 14–13 9–7 T–4th
1987–88 Connecticut 17–11 9–7 5th
1988–89 Connecticut 24–6 13–2 1st NCAA 1st Round
1989–90 Connecticut 25–6 14–2 T–1st NCAA 2nd Round
1990–91 Connecticut 29–5 14–2 1st NCAA Final Four
1991–92 Connecticut 23–11 13–5 T–2nd NCAA 2nd Round
1992–93 Connecticut 18–11 12–6 3rd NCAA 1st Round
1993–94 Connecticut 30–3 17–1 1st NCAA Elite Eight
1994–95 Connecticut 35–0 18–0 1st NCAA Champions
1995–96 Connecticut 34–4 17–1 1st NCAA Final Four
1996–97 Connecticut 33–1 18–0 1st NCAA Elite Eight
1997–98 Connecticut 34–3 17–1 1st NCAA Elite Eight
1998–99 Connecticut 29–5 17–1 T–1st NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1999–2000 Connecticut 36–1 16–0 1st NCAA Champions
2000–01 Connecticut 32–3 15–1 T–1st NCAA Final Four
2001–02 Connecticut 39–0 16–0 1st NCAA Champions
2002–03 Connecticut 37–1 16–0 1st NCAA Champions
2003–04 Connecticut 31–4 14–2 1st NCAA Champions
2004–05 Connecticut 25–8 13–2 T–2nd NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2005–06 Connecticut 32–5 14–2 2nd NCAA Elite Eight
2006–07 Connecticut 32–4 16–0 1st NCAA Elite Eight
2007–08 Connecticut 36–2 17–1 1st NCAA Final Four
2008–09 Connecticut 39–0 16–0 1st NCAA Champions
2009–10 Connecticut 39–0 16–0 1st NCAA Champions
2010–11 Connecticut 36–2 16–0 1st NCAA Final Four
2011–12 Connecticut 33–5 13–3 3rd NCAA Final Four
2012–13 Connecticut 35–4 14–2 2nd NCAA Champions
Connecticut - Big East: 839–133 (.863) 404–60 (.871)
Connecticut (American Athletic Conference) (2013–present)
2013–14 Connecticut 40–0 18–0 1st NCAA Champions
2014–15 Connecticut 38–1 18–0 1st NCAA Champions
2015–16 Connecticut 14–0 4–0
Connecticut - American Athletic Conference: 92–1 (.989) 40–0 (1.000)
Total: 931–134 (.874)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

Other activities

During the college basketball offseason, Auriemma serves as an analyst for games of the Women's National Basketball Association broadcast on the American cable television networks ESPN and ESPN2, in which he often critiques his former players.[29]

Auriemma is close friends with Saint Joseph's University basketball head coach Phil Martelli[30] and his son, Mike Auriemma, attended and played basketball at Saint Joseph's.[31]

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 the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England.[32]

Auriemma is a member of the Board of Directors of the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund.[33]


Records and achievements

Auriemma holds the following records and achievements for NCAA basketball:

  • Highest winning percentage among NCAA basketball coaches (minimum 10 seasons), any level, men's or women's (.874)
  • Most NCAA Division I women's championships as a coach (10)
  • With men's coach Jim Calhoun (2004) and men's coach Kevin Ollie (2014), the only coaches at the same Division I school to win men's and women's NCAA Final Fours in the same season
  • Coached five of the eight undefeated seasons in NCAA women's college basketball (1994–95, 2001–02, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2013–14)
  • Most consecutive Final Fours, women's (8, 2008–2015) (The men's record is 9 held by John Wooden of UCLA)
  • Most consecutive Elite Eights, women's (10, 2006-2015)
  • Fastest women's coach to 500 wins, 600 wins, 700 wins, 800 wins, and 900 wins.
  • Fastest coach to 800 and 900 wins, any level, men's or women's
  • Most consecutive wins, men's or women's (90, 2008–10)
  • Largest margin of victory in a Division I NCAA tournament final (93–60 v. Louisville, 2013)
  • Tied for most 30-win seasons in NCAA/AIAW play (20) with Pat Summitt

The win streak of 90 games was bookended by losses to Stanford on April 6, 2008, and December 30, 2010. Among women's teams, the previous record was Auriemma's Huskies teams of 2001 to 2003, who won 70 straight.

See also


  1. "Naismith College Coach of the Year". Atlanta Tipoff Club. Retrieved 5 Jan 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Past Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coaches of the Year". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Retrieved 30 Jun 2014. 
  3. "Award Winners: Coaching Awards" (PDF). 2010–11 NCAA Women's Basketball Records. NCAA. p. 9. Retrieved April 6, 2011. 
  4. "Geno Auriemma shares AP honor". Associated Press. April 2, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011. 
  5. "Women's Basketball Coaches Career". NCAA. Retrieved 23 Sep 2015. 
  6. "Naismith Awards". Retrieved 9 Nov 2008. 
  7. "Geno Auriemma, Bio". Retrieved 5 Apr 2012. 
  8. Auriemma, MacMullan p 1
  9. "Picture of Auriemma with his mother". CNN. Retrieved 2 Apr 2012. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Auriemma, MacMullan p 205
  11. Connecticut Huskies fans asked to recite Pledge of Allegiance before games - ESPN
  12. Auriemma, MacMullan p 151
  13. Giuca, Linda. "CELEBRITY COOKIE COUNTDOWN: Geno Auriemma", Hartford Courant. Accessed March 1, 2011. "The Auriemmas spent Thanksgiving at their home in Avalon, N.J., close to the Philadelphia area where the couple's respective families live."
  14. Grundy p 239
  15. Karmel p 21–23
  16. "NCAA Division I Records" (PDF). pp. Sec10:36. Retrieved 9 Nov 2008. 
  17. "Maya Moore leads UConn women to 89th consecutive victory, surpassing UCLA men". 
  18. "Connecticut Huskies' 90-Game Win Streak - Women's College Basketball Topics - ESPN". Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  19. "Geno Auriemma - Women's College Basketball Topics - ESPN". Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 "NCAA Coaching Records" (PDF). Retrieved 9 Nov 2008. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 "UConn Huskies". Archived from the original on October 12, 2008. Retrieved 9 Nov 2008. 
  22. "NCAA History". Retrieved 8 Nov 2008. 
  23. "Women's Basketball 1995 National Championship Team to be Recognized as "Huskies of Honor"". Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  24. Harvey Araton (2015-04-04). "UConn’s Domination Is Win-Win for Women’s Game, Geno Auriemma Says". Retrieved 2015-12-06. 
  25. Harvey Araton (2009-04-04). "UConn’s Big Rivalry: Auriemma vs. Calhoun". Retrieved 2015-12-06. 
  26. Philip Hersh (2001-02-06). "Welcome To Nowhere, Home Of The Huskies". Retrieved 2015-12-06. 
  27. "FIFTH FIBA WOMEN'S U19/JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP -- 2001". USA Basketball. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  28. "SIXTEENTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR WOMEN -- 2010". USA Basketball. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  29. "Diana Taurasi Finals Internship". Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  30. Auriemma, MacMullan p 215
  31. "St. Joseph's University". Retrieved 9 Nov 2008. 
  32. "UConn Press release". Retrieved 23 April 2009. 
  33. "BOARD OF DIRECTORS". Retrieved 3 Jul 2014. 
  34. "Hall of Fame Feature". Archived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved 8 Nov 2008. 
  35. "WBHOF Inductees". Retrieved 8 Nov 2008. 
  36. "Geno Auriemma". National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 3 Jul 2014. 
  37. "USBWA WOMEN'S HONORS". USBWA. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  38. Altavilla, John (5 March 2010). "Tina Charles, Geno Auriemma Win Big East Top Honors". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  39. Elliott, Rich (March 4, 2011). "Hartley Named Big East Freshman Of The Year". Hartford Courant. 
  40. AMORE, DOM (May 22, 2013). "Auriemma & Pitino: Mutual Admiration". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  41. "2014 espnW Impact 25". 2013-07-16. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 

Other References

  • Auriemma, G.; MacMullan, J. (2006). Geno: In pursuit of Perfection. Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-57764-2. 
  • Grundy, Pamela (2005). Shattering the glass. New Press. ISBN 978-1-56584-822-1. 
  • Karmel, Terese (2005). Hoop Tales:UConn Huskies Women's Basketball (First ed.). Globe Pequot Press. ISBN 0-7627-3501-5. 

External links