Auriemma earns the nod of the best coach ever

Column by Brenden Slaughter Associate Sports Editor

Eleven national titles.

Does any more need to be said?

After an impressive beatdown of Syracuse in the title game, Geno Auriemma walks away with more rings than John Wooden.

And that gives him the nod, for the best of all time.

Yes, I am saying that Auriemma is better than Wooden, because his numbers speak for themselves.

Auriemma and Connecticut ripped through the NCAA tournament this season like a chainsaw through butter, the rest of the field looked like a soft boiled egg compared to the Huskies.

And when it mattered most, they finished with poise by defeating Syracuse 82-51in front of a UConn-heavy crowd.

It wasn’t even a challenge for Auriemma or UConn, but it wasn’t always that way. He had to build it, brick by brick.

Auriemma built a powerhouse at UConn, and it’s even more incredible when you see what he started with in 1985. Prior to his arrival, the Huskies had only one winning season in the history of their women’s basketball program.

Now, Auriemma, he has posted 11 national titles, with an winning percentage of 88 and has 955 career wins.

His numbers are mind boggling, but the thing that stands out to me about Auriemma is the aura that he carries himself with. Based on his achievements the right to be cocky or egotistical, but he isn’t. He always gives credit to his players, because they were the ones who brought him these titles.

In addition to his numbers, you have to also look at the incredible women that he has recruited to UConn as well.

Maya Moore, Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, the list goes on.

His current players laud him for his attention to detail, and tough mindedness as a coach and a mentor who shaped and changed their lives from top to bottom.

“If we were to come to any other school as a group, we wouldn’t have done what we did here. And that’s crediting a lot to coach, to the other coaches, to the other players we’re playing with. He pushed us to levels that we didn’t know we could even reach or play at,” senior forward Breanna Stewart said. “And once we bought into that, it was a great journey to be on. And it sets us over. Just because we’ve had so much fun this year, the past three, four seasons.”

He recruits proven winners, and it shows on the court as his teams make easy work of squads that are very good.

Take Oregon State for example. The Beavers were riding high this season, reaching the school’s first Final Four in program history, and had a lot of reasons to have momentum heading into their matchup with UConn.

What did Auriemma and the Huskies do? Annihilated the Beavers by 29 points, and didn’t even give the OSU a glimmer of hope once the second half started.

Auriemma didn’t even blink. His squad took down an OSU team that had Pac-12 dynamos in junior guard Sydney Wiese and Pac-12 Player of the Year Jamie Weisner. UConn effectively took them out of the box score.

Bottom line: Auriemma did Auriemma. And he has done that for the last 31 years. This season is just a snapshot of what he has done as a whole.

But on Tuesday night, he did something that no other coach has ever done in the history of NCAA basketball: he won eleventh National Championship, and his fourth straight overall.“When you have that many players, maybe 30 of them, when they show up, and you look at them, they all represent something. And to me each national championship is represented by people. People. And when I see them, I think back to what they were like when they were in school and how cool it was when they were seniors and they graduated and they won a national championship,” Auriemma said. “Or anytime they won a national championship, I felt like that’s their team, that’s their special time. With those players, it’s each individual championship that has a story with it and those people represent those stories.”