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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Process of picking next Olympic coach starts soon

Geno Auriemma has gone on the record saying his time coaching the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team is over. It should be stated that at this point four years ago he was saying the same thing. Eventually Carol Callan, USA Basketball's women's national team director, convinced Auriemma to come back for another run at Olympic glory.

With Callan being at Tuesday's NCAA media day at ESPN I decided to get an update on the process leading to the naming of the 2020 Olympic coach. I was also curious if she truly thinks a new coach will be in charge of the U.S. women's national team during the next Olympic cycle.

There is a meeting on November 14 and that will get the ball rolling.

"At that point we approve the structure of decision making moving forward," Callan said. "Once the board does that we start filling in the committees, once we committees in place we start talking about the next steps of what is our next order of business. At the senior level we have a steering committee that will make decisions based on the overall training plans for the next four years. When we need to start training and that will dictate when we start to need a coach."

The U.S. team earns an automatic berth into the 2018 FIBA World Championships by virtue of winning the Olympic title so there will be no need to compete or prepare for next year's FIBA Americas Women's Championship.

"We will probably will start talking about when we want to have our first training camp leading up to the 2018 World Championship so I would say late spring/summer," Callan said.

So does she want Auriemma to come back for a third term as U.S. national team coach?

"I wouldn't want to lead anybody in the wrong direction thinking he is a for sure pick or anything  but I think until you get a committee together and you start talking direction and talking timeline, it is impossible to say with definitely what that answer is," Callan said. "We all had a great Olympics. There are two ways to look at it, one is 'it can never be better and I am done.' The other is, 'well it was so great I want to do it again.' I am sure he has probably gone through all of those emotions and he is probably at a point in his life where maybe it is time to ..."

Callan caught herself and stopped short of making a declaration of Auriemma's intentions or thought process before giving the politically correct "I would say that everybody in the United States is a candidate at this point."

My opinion is that Auriemma is truly done as the U.S. Olympic team coach. The chance to coach UConn legends Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi had something to do with his decision to accept the national team coaching gig for the 2016 Olympics after declaring that he would not do it again. Olympic assistant coaches Dawn Staley and Cheryl Reeve are strong candidates to be the 2020 Olympic coach. Staley in particular has certainly paid her dues with USA Basketball as her coaching stints with national teams date back to 2007.

Speaking of Staley, she coached U.S. team to a gold medal at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championships. That team happened to include current UConn freshman guard Crystal Dangerfield (along with Napheesa Collier and Azura Stevens) so I was curious about Callan's thoughts about Dangerfield.

 "We had three point guards that year, Gabbi Ortiz who is at Oklahoma, Crystal who was in high school and Destiny Slocum who still had another year of high school (and is now a freshman at Maryland)," Callan said. "Dawn Staley, perhaps one of the greatest point guards we've ever had was the coach To watch not only Crystal's talent coming in but also watch Dawn work with those three point guards was really exciting to see.

"I am really looking forward to seeing what she does at UConn. Moriah Jefferson is a pretty good example of what you can become. I think Crystal has all of the ability to follow in the footsteps. She's just a good person, you can tell a lot by little things, she was respectful, she wanted to learn, she wanted to be better. A quick smile, you knew she was listening but also processing it. Those are the things that will serve her really well."

Also, it looks like Auriemma will receive his Olympic ring on Dec. 1 at Gampel Pavilion when UConn hosts DePaul. The ceremony would also include DePaul head coach Doug Bruno, an assistant coach on both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic teams.

When UConn's 2016-17 schedule was announced, the games being televised on SNY were already noted. SNY made it official by sending out a release.

SNY's coverage will begin with a preview show on November 17 at 7 p.m. before broadcasting the most high-profile game on its schedule when No. 2 Baylor plays at No. 3 UConn.

Michelle Wu will anchor the preview show on the 17th before Gary Apple returns to his role of hosting SNY's game day studio coverage. Former UConn stars Kara Wolters (studio analyst) and Meghan Culmo (color analyst) will return to their familiar roles and Eric Frede is back to handle play by play duties. Justine Ward joins the broadcast team as the in-game reporter in addition to providing reports on the pre-game and post-game broadcasts.

Other highlights in its 17-game schedule include getting both regular-season matchups with the Temple team picked to finish second in the American Athletic Conference and Senior Day game against Memphis.

Here the games being televised by SNY with pre-game and post-game coverage included in every conference game being shown on SNY.

Baylor (Nov. 17), Dayton (Nov. 22), Chattanooga (Nov. 29), DePaul (Dec. 1), at UCF (Jan. 1), East Carolina (Jan. 4), at SMU (Jan. 14), at Tulsa (Jan. 17), at East Carolina (Jan. 24), Houston (Jan. 28), at Temple (Feb. 1), Tulsa (Feb. 5), at Cincinnati (Feb. 7), SMU (Feb. 11), at Tulane (Feb. 18), Temple (Feb. 22), Memphis (Feb. 25).


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