This archived article was written by: Abbie Bird
As March Madness came to an end, the University of Connecticut’s women’s team celebrates their 10th national title. The Huskies ended with an almost perfect record, going 38-1. What makes this team great? They have several factors that could come into play, but one factor that remains constant is their coaching.
Geno Auriemma, an Italian-American, is the UCONN Huskies head coach, and has been since 1985. Connecticut quickly rose to success the second Auriemma started his career. His first year was his only losing season, and they went 12-15.
With Auriemma as coach, his teams have had five-undefeated seasons, 10 national titles and his winning percentage in his 2013 season was 86.9, which is the highest percentage among all other Division 1 active coaches.
In 2010 he led his team to their 90th consecutive win, which is more than NCAA men’s and women’s consecutive wins. He has also helped his teams win 20 regular-season-conference titles and 19 conference-tournament titles. His teams have had major success in their home games, winning 70 games in a row. Villanova ended their winning streak.
Auriemma has had some help over the years with his teams. He has taken in several All-American players and players that have gone onto play in the WNBA, and on the U.S. Women’s National Basketball teams. Some of those players include Rebecca Lobo, Sue Bird, Jennifer Rizzotti and Maya Moore. Eight of his players have won the Naismith College Player of the Year, seven Wade Trophies and nine Most Outstanding Player of the Year Awards.
Auriemma’s coaching style is demanding and hard, but he focuses on developing mental toughness in his players. He never lets anyone believe they can’t accomplish anything that they set out to do. By building mental toughness in each of his players, they are able to be successful as a team.
In Auriemma’s 30 years of coaching, he has won 917 games and lost 134. He has had 19 seasons with 30 or more wins, and is number six on the All-Time women’s basketball coaches.
Auriemma achieved several awards for his coaching career. He was awarded the Naismith Coach of the Year Award six times, WNCA National Coach of the Year Award three times and AP Coach of the Year award seven times. Among those awards, he has also been inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame.
Since Auriemma has had such a great record, he was selected to coach the USA’s Women’s Basketball National Team in the 2010 FIBA World Championship in the Czech Republic, and the 2012 Olympic Games that were in London, England.
With all of these awards and records, it only makes sense that his coaching and program he has created at UCONN is what makes this team successful. The players on his teams obviously are what win the games, but without his guidance and skilled coaching, the program might not be as successful.