Geno still has no plans to retire

The coach knows why he'll eventually step away, but not when.

Photo: Ian Bethune

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Game coverage


Last week’s Weekly


  • UConn swept the weekly conference awards: Aaliyah Edwards earned Big East Player of the Week while KK Arnold brought home Big East Freshman of the Week.

  • UConn held at No. 11 in the AP Poll.

  • South Carolina will be without starting center Kamilla Cardoso when it takes on the Huskies on Sunday. She’ll be away with Brazil’s national team.

Geno still has no plans to retire

Geno Auriemma will pass a lot of milestones in the next year. He hit one — 1,200 wins — with a 67-34 win on Wednesday night vs. Seton Hall. On March 23, he’ll turn 70 years old. Assuming he’s on the sideline next fall — and there’s no reason to think otherwise — he’ll begin his 40th season as UConn’s head coach.

All those marks reflect both the success and longevity of Auriemma’s storied career, but they also bring about questions on his future. The coach has been asked plenty about stepping away over the years — including following the Huskies’ win over St. John’s on Sunday that brought him to 1,199 total victories.

Auriemma’s answer has remained the same: He knows why he’ll eventually retire but doesn’t know when.

“They keep offering me a new contract and at some point you're gonna say, ‘No, I can't do this anymore,’” he said. “You know when that day will be? When we can't get players or what you have to go through to get good players becomes like, ‘Do I really want to do that?’”

At the moment, that’s not an issue. UConn brought in at least four players in three of its last four recruiting classes while landing two No. 1 recruits (Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd) along with four other top-10 players (Caroline Ducharme, Ayanna Patterson, Ice Brady and KK Arnold). Not included in that group are an All-American in Aaliyah Edwards, one of the best passers in program history in Nika Mühl and a standout freshman in Ashlynn Shade.

The future looks bright, too. Next fall, Allie Ziebell (No. 6) and Morgan Cheli (No. 18) — both McDonald’s All-Americans — will come in and they could be joined by Sarah Strong, the No. 1 player in the class who has not yet decided by is considering UConn.

The Huskies aren’t struggling on the recruiting trail.

“Our recruiting hasn't fallen off,” Auriemma said. “We're still getting the kind of players that I like to coach and I enjoy being around.”

As for what it may take to recruit in the future, that could be a reference to NIL and the Pandora’s Box that’s opened across college sports. UConn benefits plenty — Paige Bueckers is widely considered one of the best-compensated athletes — but that’s all through endorsements and brand deals. Auriemma supports that for his players.

What he doesn’t like is paying players through the guise of NIL, such as offering a recruit a sum of money to come to a school. If that’s what’s required to get top players — like it is in football — that could be what changes Auriemma’s mind.

One thing that won’t influence his decision to step away? Becoming the winningest coach of all-time. Auriemma will pass the retired Mike Krzyzewski (1,202) later this season but remains behind Tara VanDerveer (1,206), who’s still active. That’s not something he covets.

“My friends back home say ‘Stay until you become number one.’ For what purpose? Seriously,” Auriemma said.

“I think at this point in a career, there's really nothing that I could accomplish that would make me step back and say, ‘Wow, that is really, really, really (special),’” he added later. “I like to think that our basketball program is going to be remembered more for the 11 national championships that we have, rather than the number of wins that I have or may get down the road.”

It also helps that the coach isn’t doing it for any external validation.

“I don’t have to prove anything to anybody except I gotta prove to myself that I still can do it,” he said.

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Photo: Ian Bethune

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