We've spent much of our summer (just like we did last summer, incidentally) wondering if Jim Calhoun would coach another season. Despite a recent bicycle crash that left him with a fractured him, we suspect Calhoun will be on the sidelines again this fall. This is a discussion we've never had about the women's coach, Geno Auriemma. We've been given no reason to believe that the man behind the Huskies' seven national titles won't continue to lead UConn indefinitely.
There was a brief scare a few years back that Auriemma might leave to take a job coaching a men's team but he'd still be coaching -- it wasn't like he was walking away from the game altogether. Which is why reports that Auriemma, fresh off leading the U.S. team to Olympic gold in London, could return in that capacity four years from now. It doesn't sound all that outlandish particularly since Auriemma has coached U.S. teams before and he's done it well. It's just that, as the Hartford Courant's John Altavilla points out, something outside the norm.
"The United States has won the last five Olympic gold medals in women’s basketball with teams led by five different coaches, Tara VanDerveer, Nell Fortner, Van Chancellor, Anne Donovan and Geno Auriemma," Altavilla wrote Wednesday. … "A different coach for each Olympic quadrennial constitutes a precedent. But that concept may be changing."
The head of the U.S. women's basketball program, Carol Callan said earlier this week that the idea of Auriemma returning to coach the 2014 world championships, while having yet to be discussed, hasn't been ruled out either.
“You know, that’s like asking a woman who delivers a baby at 4:45 at 4:50 when they are going to have another,” Callan said according to Altavilla.
"At this point, I no idea what the future is going to bring. Geno and I didn’t discuss it during our time together. We never had that conversation. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t at least thinking about it. We don’t really have any rules [that apply to the process]. There are many great coaches in the country who would be worthy of the opportunity and we’ll proceed when the time is right.
“But [regarding Auriemma] you can never say never. We are open [to the idea of a repeat coach], but remember we’ve never done it before.”
It's true, Auriemma's style isn't for everyone (and he'd tell you that). But you can't argue with the results. However this unfolds in the coming months and years, this much is certain: U.S.A. Basketball had great admiration and respect for what he accomplished.
“He understands how appreciative we are of him and his staff,” Callan said. “When we left each other [after the games] he said, ‘Let’s talk in couple of days’ and I’m thinking, ‘How is possible that we wouldn’t?’”