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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Big East coaches thoughts on Geno Auriemma's latest milestone

Since Geno Auriemma came into the Big East tournament needing three wins to become the sixth Division I women's coach to win 800 career game, opposing coaches in Auriemma's circle of friends were popular with members of the Connecticut media.

I spoke with Cincinnati coach Jamelle Elliott, a former UConn player and assistant coach, and Doug Bruno, who is an assistant coach on Auriemma's U.S. senior national team staff, about what makes Auriemma such a successful coach.

"The thing about getting 800 is that is something he never talks about," Bruno said. "He never talks about how many wins he has. If you go over to his home, there is nothing in the home that celebrates him, I guess the wine cellar might celebrate his taste in wine, but it is all about his taste in teams. It is subtle about how it celebrates his teams and it is really cool the way it is about the team and I think that is what it is about. I really think he could care less about the 800, he knows it is about the players, if you can get great players who are also great people and the numbers always take care of themselves.

"He is a great coach. It is not awkward, it is easy for me to say he is a great coach but you are this guy's assistant so you are not supposed to go on and say he is a great coach but he is a great coach. That is a fact. You know that more when he is on the inside with him. You know he is a great coach when you are on the outside looking in but when you are inside looking out you really do realize he does a great job coaching basketball. I think he has spent a lot of time doing a lot of homework on the game. This didn't just happen. He didn't just wake up on morning and get basketball smart, he really worked to become basketball smart. So much of coaching is your relationships with people, your ability to react with people, interact with people and that is natural,

"Because he has the ability to have a funny shtick people might get the idea that this is an arrogant human being and he is not an arrogant guy. He is confident but he cares about people and all of that comes together when you are coaching and I think that is fine. He has built the program where the kids care about themselves. That is why they come back. They don't want to come back just to see Geno, they want to come back because they are proud to be a part of the UConn tradition."
Elliott was with Auriemma as a player from 1992-96 and then sat by his side for another 13 seasons so she may have as good of an understanding of any person not currently at UConn on what makes Auriemma as successful as he is.

"(It's) how hard he works and I know how long he has been coaching," Elliott said. "With the success he has had year in and year out, you get 30-win seasons those wins pile up quickly. I know how hard he works, I know the expectation he has on his players, how demanding he is, how they buy in, how they want to win every game so I not surprised that he is approaching it. He deserves it, he won't say that, he is probably going to try to downplay it as much as possible but the people who have been around him and have been in his close circle know what he goes through every season, every game, every practice to get what he does out of his players. Some years he is favored, some years he is not and he still finds ways to win basketball games."

I asked her what is Auriemma's best attribute as a coach.

"To be honest with you, perfection. He demands perfection in everything he does in practice, in shootaround, the way they carry themselves off the court, in the classroom. One of the things I learned from him is he doesn't treat his players like girls, he treats his players like basketball players. He doesn't care if they are emotional one day, if they are feeling sorry for themselves. He expects them, once they go on the floor, to show up to work every day. That has been what I learned from him the most, you have to treat your players like players and not like girls because all girls are emotional and you have to get past those things."

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Anonymous Charles Browne said...

Just like his UConn players, Auriemma lost his fiery competitiveness for a while.

Instead of leaning back with his hands on his head after pulling his starters, Auriemma actually coached the entire game.

Young players feed off of their older and experienced coaching staff's body language.

Looks like Husky Nation is stuck with a 6.5 player rotation in March.

Players like Stokes will never gain confidence if they keep getting pulled out of games for mistakes.

Auriemma even said his players were timid because they were afraid of making mistakes.

9:40 AM 

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