Auriemma

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS -

“If I do that, I’ve got to start all over like I’m 35 years old again; kill my­self,” he said. “I mean, would I do it? I could do it. Would I en­joy do­ing it? I would en­joy it. Do I want to do it? No.”

UConn women’s for­ward Gabby Wil­liams said she be­lieves Auriemma would “lose his mind” coach­ing the men, be­cause “Men are stub­born, men do what they want.”

But Auriemma dis­puted that. He said be­ing suc­cess­ful as the men’s coach, es­pe­cially at a school out­side the Power Five, would hinge on re­cruit­ing top play­ers who want to be coached.

“Vil­lanova and Xavier are two of the top four seeds in the NCAA Tour­na­ment,” Auriemma said. “They’re not in the Power Five elite that ev­ery­body talks about. But I’m telling you there are lot of kids who are re­ally good play­ers that want to be coached that go to those schools that will kick your (back­side) in a heart­beat.”

Auriemma said when he coached males, he no­ticed two big dif­fer­ences from the women’s game. The first was bro­ken plays of­ten turned into suc­cess­ful plays with a dunk or an easy bas­ket.

“The next thing I saw was, these guys sab­o­tage plays on pur­pose, if the ball is not for them,” he said. “So if we’re not run­ning some­thing for you, that things only go­ing two passes be­fore some­one screws it up.”

Auriemma has known Ol­lie since he was UConn’s point guard in the early 1990s and con­sid­ers him a good friend. He de­clined to dis­cuss his feel­ings about the school’s de­ci­sion to fire the coach “for cause” amid an NCAA in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the pro­gram.

He noted Ol­lie led UConn to a na­tional cham­pi­onship in 2014, some­thing few oth­ers in the na­tion have done.

“Some­times things hap­pen that you can’t pre­dict,” he said. “And it’s just un­for­tu­nate.”

Ol­lie is fight­ing his fir­ing in an ef­fort to be paid about $10 mil­lion that re­mains on the con­tract he signed two years ago.

A hear­ing that in­cludes the school and Ol­lie’s union, the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Univer­sity Pro­fes­sors, must be held be­fore March 25.

David Bene­dict, UConn’s ath­letic di­rec­tor, said the school is con­duct­ing a na­tion­wide search for Ol­lie’s suc­ces­sor. Other names men­tioned for the job in­clude Rhode Is­land coach Dan Hur­ley and for­mer In­di­ana coach Tom Crean.

SCOTT THRELKELD — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

In this file photo, Con­necti­cut head coach Geno Auriemma watches the ac­tion in the sec­ond half of an NCAA bas­ket­ball game against Tu­lane, in New Or­leans. Auriemma says he has no in­ter­est in coach­ing the school’s men’s team. But the Hall-of-Famer, who has won 11 na­tional cham­pi­onships, also says he could do it and would en­joy do­ing it.

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