Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Geno dishes on conference realignment, Jim Boeheim

Much of his time during his time with the media today was on the emotional aftermath following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But he did give this thoughts on DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova opting to leave the Big East to start their own basketball centric conference.

“I think everybody has their own ideas,” Auriemma said. “Everybody has their own theories. Everybody wants to live in a nostalgic world. What does Garrison Keillor say? ‘All the Women are strong, the men are good looking and all the children are above average.’ Lake Wobegon. Everybody wants to live in that world where the nine original Big East schools live and play against each other forever. I think as it started happening and football became the driving vehicle, you are either at the big boy table playing poker or you are not. I think the Catholic schools did a really good thing. They stayed at the table as long as they could make as much money as they could, and then when they saw that the money was running out, they decided, ‘Let’s go play somewhere else.’ And had they voted appropriately some of them in the last 10 years, we would be in the situation we are in. They did what was best for them, just like a lot of Catholic schools do. And a lot of people used to always say the state schools are the big bad guys, and we certainly had our share of that in our conference. And at this point in time, they probably felt like this is the best time for us to make our move.

“I hope they leave tomorrow, but they can’t because we have to play out the schedule. But I hope as soon as the season is over they do and do what they need to do just like everybody else. Just like Syracuse. Just like West Virginia did. I think West Virginia did it the right way. ‘I don’t want to be in this conference any more. I am leaving. What do I owe you? I’m out of here.’ I hope everybody takes that approach. Whether or not that is going to happen, I don’t know."

Auriemma said his goal is to lead the way for the conference UConn plays in to be the best one in the nation.

“Our job here at Connecticut is to have the best basketball program in the country,” Auriemma said. “I think department-wise it is to have the best athletic department in the country. Fifteen years ago whenever it was we played in Minneapolis at the (1995) Final Four, we were called the University of Connecticut, and we played in the Big Least Conference.  That Connecticut was the only good school in the league and that all the other conference schools were terrible. I think we may have gotten like two teams in the NCAA tournament or something like that. Then 15 years later, we got nine and we were recognized as the best conference in the country. Well that is over. It’s gone. So maybe it is time for us to build another conference, just like we built the Big East.”

Speaking of soon to be former Big East teams, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim made some history when he became the third Division I men's basketball coach to win 900 career games and first to do so at one school.

Boeheim and Auriemma have developed a close friendship over the years so I asked him for his reaction on Boeheim's remarkable achievement.

"Some people are just defined by the school they are at," Auriemma said. "You can;t imagine him coaching anywhere else. I haven't looked at this closely enough but I do not know how many people in the history of college basketball went to school, was an assistant and was a head coach at the same place and was in the Hall of Fame. That would be an interesting stat to look up but I would venture to say it is highly, highly unusual and incredibly unique and the fact that he did it for 25 years in the toughest league in America, that says something."



Anonymous Joe said...

I'm so glad you said that Boeheim was the third MEN's division I basketball coach to reach 300 wins. Far too many reports had omitted that crucial modifier.

As much as I loved to see UConn triumphant in its rivalry with Tennessee in women's basketball, you at least had to respect Pat Summitt's accomplishments.

My informal count has Geno at 812 wins heading into the Wednesday night game with Oakland.

If you look at his record from this 4th year coaching onward (he went 43 - 39 in his first three years), it is (currently) 769 - 90 for an 89.5% winning percentage. Truly extraordinary.

Enjoy him while we have him, folks!

10:10 AM 

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