He has no plans on retiring. Hear those six words and your thoughts immediately turn to Jim Calhoun, who contemplated just that last summer before deciding to come back for at least another year. He's been sidelined with a serious back injury for some three weeks and at 69, retirement again becomes a lingering question.
But this isn't about Calhoun. Those six words refer to Geno Auriemma, the seven-time national championship-winning coach who is 12 years younger than Calhoun. Auriemma's contract doesn't expire until after next season and he says he hasn't given the particulars much thought other than he doesn't plan to go anywhere.
"When you have been involved in a place for so long, you almost don't give it any thought. You just assume that everything will be fine," Auriemma said via the Hartford Courant. "We haven't given it any thought, because who are you going to talk to about it. But I am sure that when we sit around and talk, I am sure [the next one] will probably be in the same area."
Two years ago, Auriemma admitted that he had considered leaving UConn to coach a men's team.
“What I do (coaching women’s basketball) is hard to do," he said in March 2010. "We make it look easy, and that’s the only reason I ever contemplated even coaching a men’s team, just to prove to everybody that, you know what? You guys aren’t as smart as you think, that I could win games on any level.”
Clearly, that has passed and he's content with his current situation.
A university source tells the Courant that the school has had preliminary conversations with Auriemma's lawyer but things are in the early stages. The Huskies coach says he hasn't yet met with new athletic director Warde Manuel, who isn't expected on campus for a few more weeks.
Auriemma signed his last contract in 2008 which was a five-year, $8 million deal. As for how long he'd like to coach, he has a number in mind.
"Sometimes you sit around and think about how many more years you want to coach, like what's the right number," he said. "And I haven't really thought it out, but I would think I want the next deal to be in the five-year range. I am sure that when we sit around and talk, I am sure [the next one] will probably be in the same five-year area. Everyone seems to be comfortable with those numbers — five years."
Beyond those fives years, who knows. Auriemma will be 63 or so. "I can't imagine I would still want to coach when I am 70, however. I can't imagine being in that situation. When you get to be that age, you start to think about other things, like what you might want to fill your life with other than basketball."
Which is exactly what Calhoun did last summer.
For now, Auriemma is focused on the 2011-12 Huskies, their final two games of the regular season, and the impending Big East and NCAA Tournaments.