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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Geno: Pat Summitt still No. 1 in sport's Mount Rushmore

The questions were phrased in a variety of ways all with the hope that Geno Auriemma would throw some wood onto the fire that is the UConn/Tennessee women's basketball rivalry.

Auriemma's Huskies had the Hall of Fame coach on the verge of women's basketball history. If UConn could successfully defend its national title, that would be championship No. 9 for Auriemma breaking the mark of eight he shared for a year with legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt. Adding to the magnitude of it all, the milestone accomplishment would take place in the state of Tennessee. Yes, the irony of it all could make for a great story line.

Auriemma has been known to be flippant with his comments over the years but when it came to Summitt, he said all the right things. He spoke about how it doesn't mean the same because he was not competing with a Summitt-coached team. There is a reason for that as despite the well-documented issues between the two at the height of the UConn/Tennessee rivalry, he has tremendous respect for the foundation that Summitt created. Summitt's pursuit of greatness not only benefited her team but the sport of women's basketball.

With Auriemma back in the state of Connecticut, his stance on the subject of whether he is the greatest coach in women's college basketball history has not changed. It was the task of rising up to challenge the Lady Volunteers and try to match the standard of greatness that Summitt created that led him to build his program the way he did.

Following yesterday's championship celebration, Auriemma said that if they were to create a Mount Rushmore of women's basketball that it would start with Summitt being the first icon to have her likeness carved into the mountain.

At the Final Four, he spoke more about the process of winning titles rather than counting how many he may end up with by the end of his career.

"Anytime you win a national championship, it's pretty special," Auriemma said the day before the national title game. "When Pat won No. 8, there may have been a perception out there nobody's ever going to catch Pat.
So, if Connecticut or anybody else were to win eight or nine, somebody's going to come around someday and win 10. I'm really not a numbers guy. I don't really get caught up in that stuff. I've said this 100,000 times. Wednesday morning, when I wake up, win or lose, my life doesn't change one iota.

"Now, Stewie (national player of the year Breanna Stewart) said she came to Connecticut to win four national championships. So that's what I think is more significant for Bria and Stefanie
Dolson, to win a National Championship their senior year. That's pretty significant, because they only get 'x' amount of chances to do it. God willing, I'll get more chances down the road. So, that's kind of been my focus. Ever since maybe like the second or third one, you know, after a while it's just like, yeah, it's great, but it's not, not because it's going to change my life."

2 Comments:

Anonymous Joe said...

In other words, "If Pat Summitt's Tennessee teams weren't so good, we wouldn't be so good either. Her excellence forced us to compete at a higher level than we otherwise would have strived for."

Not only classy, but accurate too. Geno tells the truth.

4:11 PM 
Anonymous Joe said...

It was interesting to observe how all the stories on ESPN tip-toed around a certain part of the story.

They showed how John Wooden's teams were 10 - 0 in the NCAA Championship game, how Geno's teams are 9 - 0 in the NCAA Championship game, how Summitt's teams were 8 - 5 in the NCAA Championship game.....

Yet no one once mentioned that 4 of those 5 losses for Tennessee in the Championship game were to UConn!

11:16 AM 

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