UConn's Geno Auriemma not close to retirement
Geno Auriemma is beginning his 30th season in charge of Connecticut and doesn't plan on retiring anytime soon.
''There comes a point and time when you have to say it's someone else's turn,'' Auriemma said. ''Whether it be at UConn or USA basketball. I try not to think in terms of this is when the time's going to be.''
Auriemma said he and UConn athletic director Warde Manuel have discussed having an open-ended contract once his current deal that pays him more than $2 million annually runs out in 2018.
''As long as I have an effect on players and as long as our staff keeps recruiting the type of player I love to coach, who knows,'' Auriemma added. ''Once that pipeline dries up and I coach players I don't really want to coach. That's the first step to retirement.''
One thing the 60-year-old coach does know is that he won't make a comeback once he's gone.
''When it ends, I'm done,'' he said. ''There's no coming back, there's no coming out of retirement or any of that stuff. You got to make sure the timing is right. Don't walk away and think I should have stayed a little longer. Don't stay beyond when you're effective. When that time will be, I don't know.''
His first 29 years at Connecticut have been simply unmatched by any coach in the sport. He's guided the school to a record nine national championships, all in the past 20 years.
He should pass 900 victories this season. His winning percentage (.869) is only decimal points behind Leon Barmore for the best all-time. It's even greater since the first title with the Huskies winning nearly 93 percent of their games.
He could also catch John Wooden's vaunted total of 10 national championships if the Huskies win a third straight title this April.
To the Hall of Fame coach, though those are just numbers, impressive numbers, but not ones that define him.
''I've never been about that,'' Auriemma said. ''You can't compare what we're doing to what (Wooden) did at UCLA. It's two different eras and two different sports in a sense.''
Even with all of Auriemma's success - add in two world championships and an Olympic gold medal with the U.S. national team - he's still pretty much the same person who came to Storrs, Connecticut, in 1985.
''He really hasn't changed much since the first day I met him,'' said Sue Bird, who starred at UConn in the early 2000s and then played for Auriemma on the U.S. national team for the past six years. ''That's the way coach is. He's more concerned about getting you to be your best.''
Reigning AP player of the year Breanna Stewart is the latest in a long line of great players to come to UConn and play for Auriemma. She admitted it took her a little while to understand when she was a freshman that he wasn't just picking on her. He was trying to get her to reach her enormous potential.
''It took some time to get used to it,'' Stewart said. ''He was hard on me in practice and then it all finally clicked that he was trying to get the most out of me.''
It's the same method he used with Rebecca Lobo, Bird, Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles, Maya Moore and now Stewart.
And will probably be the same he uses up until the day he does decide to retire, whenever that is.
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