Editorial: Congratulations to Geno Auriemma on reaching 1,000 wins
Last Saturday in Houston, Tex., Geno Auriemma reached an important milestone as UConn's women's basketball head coach: his 1,000th game. Since being hired for the 1985-1986 season, Auriemma turned a once desperate program into arguably the most successful women's college basketball program in the country. Prior to that, the Huskies had only one winning season ('84-'85). It was the decision to renew a commitment to women's sports at UConn that led to his hiring, along with associate head coach Chris Dailey. While his first season ended with a 12-15 record, it would be his only losing season in his nearly 30 years coaching at UConn. With a string of successes and accomplishments, Geno Auriemma has lead UConn basketball to greatness with a commitment to integrity, dedication and passion.
Speaking of those triumphs, Geno has won eight national championships (1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2013) and been to 14 Final Fours (1991, 1995, 1996, 2000-2004, 2008-2013). This includes 37 conference titles, four undefeated seasons (nine for in conference play), and the record for most consecutives wins (men and women) at 90. With 867 wins and 133 loses, he holds a 86.7 winning percentage. During the 2009-2010 season, his 85.8 winning percentage was the highest for Division I active coaches, and it stands to reason that he currently holds that honor. He's led players like Rebecca Lobo, Sue Bird, Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart to their own success with seven national players of the year, two Women's Basketball Hall of Fame players, four players who went on to be the No. 1 overall pick for the WNBA, 13 in the first-round, and 26 draft picks.
With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that UConn beat Houston 92-41. (Breanna Stewart reached the 1,000 point milestone herself last week in her 63rd game with the Huskies.) Still, despite this great legacy, there was a time when Geno didn't see himself as an icon of UConn basketball. Speaking to the New Haven Register, Auriemma described his initial thoughts about his head coaching position: "Four years. That is what I gave myself. I want to be out in four, that is enough, try to get one recruiting class through, win a bunch of games and then go somewhere where you can win a lot of games. Who would get up in the morning and say my goal is to be the coach at Connecticut for 30 years, back in 1985? Who would say that?"
The UConn program is fortunate that he changed his mind about the program he would champion into greatness. This milestone stands as an additional reminder of how far women's basketball has come and the success it now espouses.
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