Geno Auriemma and Muffet McGraw seem to genuinely hate each other

geno-auriemmaThe Notre Dame and UConn women’s basketball teams have quickly developed a fierce rivalry over the past several years. The two teams have played a ton, mainly because they used to be in the Big East together. Now that they play in different conferences, it is only fitting that the Irish and Huskies are meeting in the national championship game on Tuesday night.

Some are comparing the current UConn-Notre Dame rivalry to the one the Huskies had with Tennessee several years ago. One thing that is fueling that rivalry is the blatant dislike UConn coach Geno Auriemma and Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw have for one another.

“We’ve got two really, really good teams,” Auriemma said earlier this week, via Lori Riley of the Hartford Courant. “Forget the other stuff. The other stuff is such nonsense. Really, that’s nonsense. I could sit here and list 10,000 coaches that don’t interact with each other whose rivalries are intense.

“This is a function of women’s basketball. Sometimes we act like girls, like we’re supposed to go to dinner every night. We’re supposed to play each other, try to beat each other’s brains out, try to win a national championship and compete like hell, Muffet and Geno, and then we’re supposed to get together afterward and go have a bottle of wine. That’s just not going to happen. So stop asking why it doesn’t happen.”

On Saturday, Notre Dame and UConn watched the unveiling of The Associated Press player and coach of the year awards from a small room together at Bridgestone Arena. McGraw admitted it was a tense atmosphere.

“Yeah, I think there was definitely tension in the room,” she said. “I think, for us, we wanted Kayla McBride to win the player of the year award [instead of UConn's Breanna Stewart]. So I think it was a little bit of that. And certainly the rivalry has gone a little away from the civility it was when we were in the league together.”

Stewart took home player of the year and McGraw won coach of the year. The Irish and Huskies have a combined record of 76-0 and are the two best teams in women’s college basketball. The fact that the coaches hate each other makes our jobs easier. This won’t be the last time these two teams meet for a title.

Geno Auriemma wants Jeff Walz to be a waiter at his restaurant

Jeff Walz checkerboard shirt

Geno Auriemma and Jeff Walz exchanged some playful banter before Tuesday’s national championship game that revolved around the Louisville coach’s wardrobe.

Auriemma, the longtime UConn coach, observed that Walz was wearing a red and white checkerboard shirt while coaching the Cardinals in the Final Four. He remarked that it looked like a tablecloth at one of his Italian restaurants.

“He is the cockiest guy that I’ve ever met,” Auriemma said of Walz.

“He wears an Italian tablecloth of a shirt today. I was going to hire him for my restaurant,” he joked.

Walz gave it right back to Auriemma, only he laid on the sarcasm extra thick.

“As a women’s basketball coach, you go through times where you’re always wondering what you want to do when you’re finished. I’ve been to three national championship games. Now that I’ve got the opportunity to be a waiter at his restaurant, I don’t know what the hell else somebody wants in life. My goal is to become the head waiter. Not just one that sits in the back — I want to be the best damn one he’s got.”

Auriemma has led UConn to 14 Final Four and seven national championships (Update: he won his eighth on Tuesday) since taking over as head coach for the 1985-1986 season. Walz took over at Louisville for the 2007-2008 season and has already reached two championship games. Something tells me he doesn’t have to worry about being a waiter anytime soon, though, it was pretty funny to hear him mess with Geno.

Geno Auriemma rips senior Caroline Doty for trick-or-treating

Halloween is typically a holiday that is enjoyed the most by children, but college campuses are one place where it is equally as popular as it is among kindergarteners. Like many other college students, UConn women’s basketball star Caroline Doty dressed up for Halloween last week. Wearing a Lady Gaga costume is one thing, but head coach Geno Auriemma sees no reason for a 23-year-old woman to be trick-or-treating.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Doty drew complaints from some other residents in her dorm when she was reportedly banging on doors after 2 a.m. Police said alcohol was not involved and the matter is being handled internally.

“Halloween is for an 8-year-old,” Auriemma said at practice on Tuesday. “The decision that a 23-year-old makes to go trick-or-treating is dumb. And invariably, the stuff they are going to do is dumber. So that’s what I think about Caroline.”

Auriemma has never been one to shy away from calling out his own team, so his comments aren’t a surprise given his history. As Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead mentioned, Auriemma acting like a jerk is nothing new. However, there could be more to the story than meets the eye. For some reason I find it hard to believe that a 23-year-old would be banging on doors at 2:15 a.m. if no alcohol was involved, but I guess Doty must have just felt like annoying her neighbors in her sober state.

Geno Auriemma thinks the rim should be lowered in women’s college basketball

Geno Auriremma has a few suggestions for how to improve women’s college basketball. For starters, he thinks scoring needs to be made easier. What’s the best way to assure that more balls go in the basket? Lower the rim, of course.

According to the Hartford Courant, Auriemma believes the inability of some women to make shots and finish layups hurts the growth of the game. Lowering the rim “about seven inches” would help stimulate that growth, he says.

“What makes fans not want to watch women’s basketball is that some of the players can’t shoot and they miss layups and that forces the game to slow down,” Auriemma said. “How do you help improve that? Lower the rim (from 10 feet). Do you think the average fan knows that the net is lower in women’s volleyball than men’s volleyball? It’s about seven inches shorter so the women have the chance for the same kind of success at the net (as the men).”

I don’t know how much it would result in the growth of the women’s college basketball audience, but Auriemma’s idea makes sense. As dumb as it may sound, there are a ton of fans out there who argue that women’s basketball is boring because it lacks athleticism and dunking. It’s rare that a woman like Brittney Griner can throw down a dunk like this one on a 10-foot hoop, so lowering the rim could lead to more scoring and more dunking. Whether you agree with it or not, that’s what people want to see. Men are generally much taller than women, so the theory makes sense. Having said that, a change of that nature seems unlikely.

H/T Game On!

Geno Auriemma Critical of UConn After Loss to Notre Dame

UConn was upset by Notre Dame in the Final Four of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, losing 72-63. The loss was even more disheartening because the Huskies had beaten Notre Dame three times in the regular season before falling Sunday night. Speaking after the loss, UConn coach Geno Auriemma did not hold back when talking about his team. In fact, he was quite critical especially of junior Tiffany Hayes and freshman Bria Hartley.

“I think some of our players got caught up in the bigness of the game,” Auriemma said. “Tiffany [Hayes], that’s kind of been her m.o. When she doesn’t get off to a good start, when things aren’t clicking for her, she disappears on us sometimes. And that happened tonight, and that’s something that we’ve tried to address with her and she understands it. I’m sure she’s probably more disappointed than anybody else that it happened tonight.”

If you thought that was harsh, well Geno was only getting warmed up.

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Geno Auriemma: Leader of UConn, Defender of Women

If ESPN’s headquarters were not located in Bristol, Connecticut, do you think the story of UConn’s women’s basketball team would be as prominent as it is now? Neither do I. But apparently all the coverage they receive on a regular basis and throughout their impressive 88-game winning streak has not been enough for Geno Auriemma. The coach of the women’s team, who’s already talked about his personal struggles, has taken the publicity of his team’s streak to turn matters into a gender issue.

Auriemma spoke out to the media after his team won its 88th straight game on Sunday. “I just know there wouldn’t be this many people in the room if we were chasing a woman’s record,” Auriemma said. “The reason everybody is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men’s record, and everybody is all up in arms about it.”

“All the women are happy as hell and they can’t wait to come in here and ask questions. All the guys that loved women’s basketball are all excited, and all the miserable bastards that follow men’s basketball and don’t want us to break the record are all here because they’re pissed,” Auriemma continued. “That’s just the way it is.”

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Geno Auriemma Thinks About Coaching Men to Prove He’s Legit

You won’t find a more impressive coaching resume than that of UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma. In his 25-year coaching career at Connecticut, Geno has won seven championships and qualified for the NCAA tournament all but three times. His Huskies haven’t lost a game since they were bounced from the Final Four in 2008. Despite his mind boggling success, Auriemma is left wanting more.

The truth of the matter is Auriemma will never get the credit he deserves because he coaches women’s basketball. Both the men’s and women’s teams at UConn are in the highest division of competition, but women’s basketball is treated as a lesser league. Geno has never been hesitant to acknowledge that.

“I know a lot of guys in the men’s game and I always feel ‘yeah you know, if you were any good you would be in the men’s game.’ I think winning one or two national championships on the men’s side puts you at a level that people think you’re one of the greatest, or greats of all time,” Auriemma said in an interview with ESPN. “I think you could win six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 15, and there’s still a part of me that thinks ‘well, you’re doing it in the women’s game.’ That’s the perception out there.

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