UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma said he is feeling a lot better after a recent illness that sent him to the hospital.
The hall of fame coach who will lead the 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team in Rio de Janeiro this summer is in New York today and was on the Today Show this morning, where he appeared with some of the members of the Olympic team.
The appearance comes after Auriemma missed the celebratory parade and rally in Hartford following the UConn women winning the national championship because he was not feeling well.
On April 16, he took himself off a plane at Bradley Airport and spent a few days in the hospital until going home on Tuesday.
He told NBC Connecticut’s Kevin Nathan on Wednesday that he’s doing well now.
“It was a two-week period that was really a struggle. I thought I had it figured out and started doing things too soon and got a relapse,” Auriemma said. “Maybe it was the best thing that happened because it forced me to do nothing and finally, I feel great.”
He recently told the Associated Press that he started feeling ill during the week of the Final Four and it got worse when I got home.
"Lot of tests, lot of fluids, lot of different things that I was just exhausted and run down. The flu part was real. The bronchial infection was real. The other stuff. Maybe I was holding it back for a month. Just got me,” Auriemma told the AP.
Reflecting on the UConn women’s team winning a fourth national title in a row, he said, “I thought, ‘Wow, that was great. Now I’m done. Then, I wake up and go, ‘You got something this summer. It’s going to be even harder than what you just did. Maybe I just wanted to lie down under the covers for a couple weeks, I don’t know.”
The coach said he recently cut back on travel and missed a couple of things, but he’s ready for the busy summer he has ahead of him.
“Come May 1st, back to normal. Everything is going to be as it was,” Auriemma said. “I feel good.”
The Olympics are 100 days away and Nathan asked if there is pressure since the team has not lost an Olympic game since 1992.
“I think anytime USA basketball takes the court, because of by nature who we are, the pressure is there. Can’t get away from it, can’t hide it,” he said.
Looking ahead to the future, Auriemma said he heard that several rumors were circulating over recent weeks after people learned he was not feeling well, but he’s not going anywhere.
While recuperating, he sat out on his deck with a blanket over him and got some sun and he does not see that happening on a regular basis anytime soon.
“I thought, man I’m maybe 20 years too soon, but is this what it’s going to be like? You know, they are going to wheel me out of here,” he said, laughing.