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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Auriemma to be named Olympic coach

USA Basketball has scheduled a press conference at UConn tomorrow where UConn's Geno Auriemma is expected to be named the U.S. Senior National Team head coach through the 2016 Olympics, a source close to the situation has confirmed.

Auriemma coached the U.S. to the 2010 FIBA World Championship and 2012 Olympic titles but has repeatedly said that he had no interest in coaching the U.S. national team again.

This will mark the first time the same coach will be tabbed to coach the U.S. women's basketball in back to back Olympics.

The U.S. team, which featured six former UConn players, won the Olympic gold medal for the fifth straight time in 2012.

Auriemma is entering his 29th season at UConn. He has a 839-133 record and with seven of the top scorers back from a team which won the program's eighth national title, the Huskies figure to be the preseason No. 1 team heading into the 2013-14 season.

Auriemma had publicly declared that he was not interested in returning as the Olympic coach as recently as during his appearance at the Travelers Pro-Am in June. A source said that Auriemma was not considering a return to coach the national team at that time but in recent weeks he had a change of heart.

While the head coach will remain the same, the team while shows up to defend the title in Rio in 2016 could look much different as six of the 12 players on the U.S. squad were older than 30. It remains to be seen whether national team stalwarts like Tamika Catchings and former UConn stars Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi will opt to make a run at another Olympic gold medal.

When she was in Connecticut for the WNBA All-Star game Taurasi was asked if she intended to be on the 2016 Olympic squad.

"I am going to Rio, are you kidding me," Taurasi said. "I am going to the Copa Cabana, I am dancing. I am taking my bikini, I am going. I don't know if I am playing but I am going. I didn't say I was playing but I am going."

Auriemma's first big test in his second stint as U.S. Senior National Team head coach is the FIBA World Championships or World Cup which will be held in Turkey from Sept. 27-Oct. 5, 2014. The U.S. automatically qualified by winning the Olympic title. The winner of the tournament automatically qualifies for the 2016 Olympics. If the U.S. doesn't bring home the gold it would need to take part in a FIBA Americas qualifying tournament in 2015.

Tomorrow's press conference will be streamed live on the www.usabasketball.com site.




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