Controversy is swirling at UConn (shocking, eh?) after comments made by Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma following a sparsely attended NCAA tournament game held at his home court at Gampel Arena in which the UConn women laid another old-fashioned whippin’ this time, on Purdue.
“I think it’s probably natural. I guess we need to win more,” said Auriemma. His teams have won 112 of 113 games and two national championships in the past three seasons. “Everybody loves a winner; you know…Maybe we should offer free parking, more giveaways. We should let some of the fans coach the team, maybe a guest coach every quarter….We have a spoiled group of fans who assume we are going to win…and be at the Final Four.”
Note to Geno: You make $1.6 million a year. Shut up. For that money, play in front of the family members of the players if necessary. And like it.
The thing is, Auriemma is right. Fans are spoiled b y the wildly success UConn women teams. But saying so and rolling out the sarcasm not only won’t increase attendance, it makes him look like a (very rich) whiner.
Auriemma has been hammered by sports writers for his comments. One calling him “the tallest midget,” another saying “people can only tolerate 60-point victories for so long” and yet another labeling him “an obnoxiously cocky piece of work.” Ouch. But think about it. What is he suppose to do, purposely have a worse team so the games will be competitive? That goes against every athlete and coach’s instinct. And well it should.
As a life-long hockey player, I have trouble watching basketball in general (“you touched my arm when I was shooting—FOUL!!”) unless my alma mater Syracuse is playing (they got bounced from The Big Dance last week) or the Celtics are in action and even then, only if it’s a playoff game. But I’ll be rooting now for UConn—the men and the women. But sorry Geno, I won’t be attending any of your opponent-pummeling games.