University of Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma to return as 2013-16 USA Basketball Women’s National Team head coach

From USA Basketball:

Diana Taurasi and Geno Auriemma have won three NCAA titles, one FIBA World Championship and one Olympic gold medal together.

University of Connecticut’s Naismith Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame head coach Geno Auriemma, who guided the USA Basketball Women’s National Team to gold medals at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and 2012 Olympic Games, will return to coach the USA National Team through 2016, USA Basketball today announced. Auriemma’s selection was made by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Steering Committee and approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors.

With 28-year coaching veteran Auriemma at the helm, the USA Basketball Women’s National Team will compete in the 2014 FIBA World Championship (Sept. 27 – Oct. 5 in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey), and if the USA qualifies, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games (Aug. 5 – 21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), as well as additional USA training camps and exhibition games.

Auriemma has coached the Huskies to eight NCAA National Championships (1995, 2000, 2002-04, 2009-10, 2013), recorded four undefeated seasons (1994-95, 2001-02, 2008-10), and most recently led his 2012-13 Huskies to a 35-4 record, marking an NCAA record eight-consecutive 30-win seasons, and the 2013 NCAA title.

“When people asked me if I was going to do this again, throughout the course of the spring and the summer, I said exactly how I was feeling.  I had done it, it was great and it was unbelievable but I felt like it was time to move on to something different,” said Auriemma, who in addition to leading the U.S. to a perfect 9-0 slate at the 2010 World Championship and an 8-0 mark at the 2012 Olympics, was an assistant coach to the gold medalist 2000 U.S. Olympic Team. “But between Mr. Colangelo, Carol (Callan), Jim (Tooley), and I have to give a nod to General Dempsey and his wife Deanie, they were a very persuasive bunch on what it means to our country. When these people tell you that they admire what you have done and they want you to do it again, it means a lot. I took a long time to make this decision from the time I was asked to the time I decided to say yes; longer than I have ever taken to make a decision. But in the end, I was reminded that the opportunity to represent your country is one you don’t take lightly. This is not an opportunity that comes along too often.  I was humbled by the request and I’m honored to do it again.”

“It’s exciting to announce that Geno Auriemma is returning as head coach of the USA Women’s National Team for 2013-16,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman. “Parity in women’s international basketball is increasing each year and so selecting a coach with international basketball experience is critical.  Being able to have some continuity in the program was another very important consideration.  While those two things are important, when you add that Geno is a Hall of Fame coach who has led teams to Olympic and World Championship gold medals, and he is a coach who has won eight NCAA championships, it made the decision of having him lead our program for another four years a no-brainer.  I witnessed first-hand at the London Olympics the caliber of coach he is and I feel extremely confident in Geno’s abilities to continue to build on the legacy of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team.”

“One of the most important ingredients of the USA Women’s National Team’s success, which includes five straight Olympic gold medals, has been the continuity of our players,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director and chair of the USA Women’s National Team Steering Committee. “Our very best players want to play over and over again for the USA as evidenced by the likes of Teresa Edwards, Lisa Leslie and most recently Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings and Diana Taurasi. Our selection committee overwhelmingly decided that continuity of our head coach is also an important factor and we are extremely pleased that Geno Auriemma, with proven success at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, 2012 London Olympic Games and with his UConn program, is ready to guide our program for the next three years. We look forward to having Geno lead our USA National Team to continued success.”

Since 1996, the highly successful USA Basketball Women’s National Team program, ranked No. 1 in the world by FIBA, has posted an 80-1 slate in FIBA and FIBA Americas international competitions, winning a record five consecutive Olympic gold medals (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012), three FIBA World Championship gold medals (1998, 2002, 2010), one FIBA World Championship bronze medal (2006) and one FIBA Americas Championship gold medal (2007).

As he did during the most recent quadrennium, Auriemma will work to blend together the perfect recipe of newcomers and veterans in order to form a winning team and continue the USA’s international success.

“I think that’s going to be the key,” said Auriemma. “There is always a transition period.  There was one from Dawn Staley and Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoops, etc.  Obviously Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird and Tamika Catching were an incredible part of that transition and I’m sure those players will step aside at some point and there will be a new transition. To who, I don’t know. But there are so many good young players, so a challenge for the selection committee will be getting enough veterans to make sure that you have the experience you need to win a gold medal and at the same time try to infuse that with some young talent that will allow you to have some experience going into 2020. So that’s going to be pretty important for the committee and I’m looking forward to being part of that process.”

This marks Auriemma’s sixth USA Basketball coaching assignment. In addition to his successful stints as the 2009-12 USA Basketball Women’s National Team head coach and assistant coach for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team, Auriemma also served as head coach of the 2001 USA Junior World Championship Team (U19) that finished with a 6-1 slate and the bronze medal in Brno, Czech Republic; the 2000 USA Junior World Championship Qualifying Team (U18), which earned a gold medal in Mar del Plata, Argentina; the 1996 USA Basketball Women’s Select Team, which trained in Colorado Springs against the 1996 USA R. William Jones Cup Team and the 1996 Russian Olympic Team; and the West Team at the 1993 U.S. Olympic Festival. In all, USA teams with Auriemma on the sideline have posted a 36-1 record in official FIBA and FIBA Americas competitions. Including exhibition games, Auriemma has helped USA teams compile an overall record of 64-8 and a 47-8 mark as a head coach.

Auriemma was honored in 2010 and 2012 as the USA Basketball Co-National Coach of the Year and was named the 2000 USA Basketball Developmental Coach of the Year.

At the helm of Connecticut since the 1985-86 season, Auriemma owns an astounding 839-133 record for a stunning 86.3 winning percentage through the 2012-13 season, when he captured his eighth NCAA title. Additionally, his teams have advanced to the NCAA Final Four 14 times and collected a combined 37 Big East Conference regular season and Big East Tournament titles.

His record is even more amazing when you look at the history of the program prior to his arrival. Before he took over in Storrs, the Huskies had posted just one winning season in their 11 years on the court.

Earning a combined 24 national coach of the year trophies, Auriemma has collected six Naismith Coach of the Year awards, seven Associated Press Coach of the Year honors, five times earned the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association trophy as the country’s top coach, and three times won the Victor Award by the National Academy of Sports Editors. He is also a 10-time Big East Conference Coach of the Year.

Over a span of two-and-a-half seasons, from the start of the 2008-09 season, through Dec. 30, 2010, Auriemma guided the Huskies to an NCAA Division I basketball record 90-0 winning streak that included the 2009 and 2010 NCAA titles and a pair of Big East Conference regular season and tournament crowns. It also marked his third and fourth undefeated seasons in Storrs.

Eight of Auriemma’s Huskies have competed in at least one Olympic Games, the second most of any collegiate program behind the University of Tennessee (14) and the most from any program since the USA’s streak of five straight gold medals commenced at the 1996 Olympics. Former UConn athletes who went on to earn Olympic gold medals include Sue Bird (2004, 2008, 2012), Swin Cash (2004, 2012), Tina Charles (2012), Asjha Jones(2012), Rebecca Lobo (1996), Maya Moore (2012), Diana Taurasi (2004, 2008, 2012), and Kara Wolters(2000). Further, Auriemma coached three international Olympians at UConn in Russia’s Svetlana Abrosimova(2000, 2008), New Zealand’s Jess McCormack (2008) and Nigeria’s Rashidat Sadiq (2004).

Under Auriemma, UConn has swept the Big East regular season and tournament crowns 15 times, racked up 18 30-win seasons in the last 20 years and four times ran the table to put together undefeated seasons. The first came in

1994-95 when the Huskies went 35-0. Auriemma orchestrated an unblemished record again in 2001-02 with a school record 39-0 mark, which his 2008-09 and 2009-10 squads equaled.

The first coach in women’s basketball history to guide a team to six consecutive Final Four appearances, Auriemma also is the fastest coach in NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball history to reach 800 career wins, a marker he hit on March 6, 2012, in 928 games.

Prior to his 28-year stint at Connecticut, Auriemma spent four seasons as the primary assistant coach at the University of Virginia from 1981-1985, helping the Cavaliers to a 74-39 overall record and two NCAA Tournament appearances in 1984 and 1985.  Auriemma also was an assistant coach at Saint Joseph’s University before heading to Virginia.

In addition to Callan, members of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Steering Committee include USA Basketball Executive Director/CEO Jim Tooley; WNBA appointee Reneé Brown, WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations; NCAA appointee Chris Plonsky, University of Texas Director of Women’s Athletics / Athletics External Services; and three-time Olympic and two-time FIBA World Championship gold medalist Katie Smith, who played in close to 200 games for USA Basketball from 1993-2008.

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One Comment

  • To be sure I understand; the general consensus is that there are no current (NCAA and/or WNBA) female basketball coaches who are capable of coaching the Women's Olympic Basketball Team to victory? I SERIOUSLY doubt that! More importantly, what message are we sending to current Division I and/or WNBA women's basketball coaches when we select male head coaches for the Women's Olympic Basketball Team? Pat Summitt in her prime would never have been selected as an assistant coach, much less head coach, of the Men’s Olympic Basketball Team. Gender does matter especially with respect to men’s college and/or professional basketball. Women (coaches/players/spectators) I can’t HEAR YOU!

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