Geno's comments were apparently controversial
I think it's unfair that after treating UConn's whole 88-game winning streak with the utmost reverence for UCLA and men's basketball, even inviting UCLA hall of famer Gail Goodrich to the game Sunday at Madison Square Garden, UConn coach Geno Auriemma was ripped apart by some people for a few of his comments after the game.
The UConn women tied the UCLA record for most consecutive Division I basketball victories and will attempt to break the mark today against Florida State.
For the last couple of minutes of his press conference Sunday, Auriemma admonished the national pundits for only caring when his team breaks a men's record, not caring that they're the best in the women's game.
Wrote Mike Cole on NESN.com:
"One would think that after notching his 88th-consecutive win, UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma might be in a good mood. Actually, it was kind of the opposite."
I didn't think that. For one second.
I was in the room as Auriemma talked about how if his mother, Marsiella, would have asked him if he wanted to emigrate to the United States at the age of 7 from Italy, he would have said "hell no." I was there as he described his postgame conversation with his brother Ferrucio.
"He said, "Yo, man, the Eagles kicked the (crap) out of the Giants,'" Geno said with a laugh. "That's what's important where I grew up."
And I was there as he talked about the meaning of team basketball and, like Bruce Springsteen or Bono, practicing to get it right before the paying customers were watching. Auriemma was speaking in the soft voice he reserves for the Huskies' most awesome feats, like national championships.
Of course, he did throw in at the end:
"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. That's just the way it is."
Using that as the entire story of the day, though, is just taking things out of context, in my opinion. I was surprised by the reaction to his comments, that's all, although I don't know why I would be.
People are usually looking for a fight and Auriemma's an easy target. All he did was make history. All he accomplished Monday was to share USA Basketball's 2010 National Coach of the Year Award with Duke men's coach Mike Krzyzewski. Why would he get any leeway to speak the truth?
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