Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Geno Auriemma reacts to passing of former UConn AD John Toner

If John Toner hadn't taken a chance on a charismatic young assistant coach at Virginia, UConn sports history would have a much different story to tell.

Toner, who passed away earlier today at the age of 91, put his faith in Geno Auriemma to turn around a struggling women's basketball program. Now the Huskies have nine national titles, a brand new practice facility and a claim as one of the top women's collegiate programs of all time.

"Obviously this is a really sad day for the college community, the University of Connecticut and me personally," Auriemma said in a statement. "I owe a debt of gratitude to John that can never be repaid. We become friends. I looked up to him and admired him and he'll always have a special place in my heart and in my family's heart. Everyone in the University of Connecticut, in the state of Connecticut and every single person in amateur sports owes him a debt of gratitude.

“Even more so, the growth of women's sports in this country can be directly related to the work that John Toner did to help push forward the Title IX bill. So, I just can't put into words … words at some point lose their factor, their meaning when you're describing someone who was a giant in the world of amateur sports. My thoughts and prayers are with Claire and the rest of the family."


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