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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Auriemma couldn't turn down about chance at Olympics

When Geno Auriemma returned from London after guiding the star-studded United States team to a fifth straight Olympic gold medal, he was content that his work with USA Basketball came to a glorious conclusion.

He was certain that somebody else would receive the honor of coaching the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics and he felt that way right up until the time that USA Basketball officially offered him the job on July 31.

Auriemma recalled the timeline which led to Friday's announcement that he would be the first person to coach the U.S. women's basketball program in back to back Olympics.

Here's what Auriemma had to say at the press conference about his change of heart.

"It is not my turn any more, it is somebody else's turn," Auriemma said. "I did what I was asked to do and what I wanted to do and I did it as well as I thought I could do it but what happened since last August when we won and a few weeks ago, all that time I kind of held to my convictions that I was not going to do it. First of all, I was never asked so I didn't want to presume anything and second of all USA Basketball on the women's side has never done that so why should I presume I would be the first one to do that?

"To give you an idea of how USA Basketball works, the day we are at the White House July 31 so as we are getting ready, we are going to meet the President (for a ceremony honoring UConn's national championship) and be with the President and see what the United States really stands for, the phone rings and it is Carol (Callan) and Jim (Tooley) saying 'you know we are calling because we want you to be the next Olympic coach and here is why.' The whole time I am just sitting there going 'this can't be an accident that while you are here in Washington, D.C. you are being asked to represent your country. I said I just need some time to think about it and make sure it is the right time for my family and it is the right thing for USA Basketball. The more I thought about it and the more time that passed it became pretty apparent to me and my family that this was the right thing to do, that when people have this much confidence in you, people ask you to do something that is not easy to do and they have a lot of admiration for the way you've done it in the past, that means a lot.

"It is hard to put into words how you feel at the end but it is another journey, another beginning."

There will be a three-day training camp and Callan, the USA Basketball Women's National Team Director, said it is likely to occur late into the WNBA playoffs around the time of the conference finals or WNBA championship series but before players begin leaving for overseas.

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