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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Trip down memory lane for UConn's Auriemma

Geno Auriemma has had the chance to coach in a couple of NBA arenas this season and while he certainly enjoyed both of those experiences, the Norristown-bred boy in the Hall of Fame coach admitted that he is getting a little extra fired up about playing in the historic McGonigle Hall at Temple tomorrow.

"You go back to where you saw a lot of the games, you watched a lot of the players play, it always brings back great memories at a time when college basketball was a little bit different than it was today because it wasn't televised as much as it was today," Auriemma said. "You try to get to as many games in person and McGonigle Hall is one of the all-time greats. You've had legendary coaches coach there in Harry Litwack, Don Chaney, you've had some great players play there.

"I am looking forward to going to that building. I have never coached a game in that building so I am excited about it.

"You play in the big arenas and you lose sight of what the old gyms used to be like. There are a bunch of guys who come to games all the time, we get together the night before and that won't change we will still do that. We will take them to a tour of Norristown and show them the sights, stop and grab a bite to eat in one of those places that I guarantee they have never been to. I enjoy it."

During the road trips the UConn traveling party normally stays in the very best hotels and eats at five-star restaurants. The itinerary is a little different on this trip. Auriemma has a couple stops planned for some hidden treasures, places where the clientele rarely changes from decade to decade.

"It is exciting for me. I don't know if it will be for them.

"It is hilarious. They have bocce court outside with about 40 courts, those guys have been there
for 50 years, they were all friends with my father and I knew all of them when I was growing up. You go in, you get antipasta, a couple pasta dishes, a couple veal dishes, dessert, wine and it is like 30 bucks. It is amazing."

So is Auriemma's recollection of games at McGonigle Hall, a place he has never coached before but at one point knew like the back of his own hand.

"I haven't been there recently so I don't know what they've done to it if they have done anything at all," Auriemma said. "I just remember that the fans are right on top of you, same as the St. Joe's fieldhouse or the old Villanova gym. I'll bet you if you looked back at how many games the Temple men's team lost in McGonigle Hall in the history of that court - not many. It is hard to beat those teams down there, it is like Providence and Alumni Hall, there are just a lot of those old-time places. Temple, the teams that stirred the most passion in Philly were St. Joe's and Villanova. They didn't necessarily always have the best teams but they had the most hatred among each other. Nobody really hated Temple, hated La Salle or hated Penn. Temple when I grew up in the late 50s, early 60s, they were famous for their zones, they played zones Don Casey when he coached there was a zone guru."

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