LOS ANGELES – University of Connecticut head women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma was at the Los Angeles Athletic Club on Friday, April 6 to receive the John R. Wooden Award’s “Legends of Coaching” honor.
Auriemma became only the sixth coach all-time to eclipse the 800-win plateau when he led the Huskies to their fifth-straight BIG EAST Tournament Championship on March 6. In his 27 years in Storrs, Auriemma has led UConn to seven national titles, 13 Final Fours and four undefeated seasons, including 39-0 NCAA title-producing campaigns in 2009 and 2010. His all-time coaching record is 804-129 (.862/27 yrs), tops among active NCAA coaches and No. 2 all-time in win percentage. His all-time record in the NCAA tournament is an astounding 85-17 (.833/24 yrs.).
Since Geno Auriemma arrived at UConn, all players who have exhausted their eligibility have graduated. He will coach the U.S. Olympic team this summer in London.
UConn’s men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun was the Legends of Coaching winner in 2005; Connecticut is the only school with two recipients. Auriemma has coached the last three of the last four John R. Wooden Award women’s winners, Maya Moore (2009 and 2011) and Tina Charles (2010). Auriemma and Coach Wooden became linked in fans’ minds last year when Coach Wooden’s grandson, Greg Wooden, was on hand as the Huskies broke the Wooden-led UCLA consecutive win streak of 88. Auriemma’s Huskies won 90-straight from 2008-2010.
Away from the court, Auriemma is involved in numerous regional and state charitable and educational efforts. He implemented a statewide elementary reading initiative called Geno’s Reading Team in 2008 in Connecticut. He has worked tirelessly in the fight against cancer and established “Geno’s Cancer Team” in 2008, while working closely with the V Foundation and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Auriemma annually hosts the Fore the Kids Golf Outing to benefit the CT Children’s Hospital, as well as working with his team on community charity events throughout the year.
The “Legends of Coaching” award was adopted by the Wooden Award Committee in 1999. The first recipient was Dean Smith of North Carolina. The award recognizes coaches who exemplify Coach Wooden’s high standards of coaching success and personal integrity. The honorees are selected based on character, success on the court, graduation rates of student-athletes in their basketball program, coaching philosophy, and identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award.
Legends of Coaching Honorees
2012 Geno Auriemma, Connecticut
2011 Tom Izzo, Michigan State
2010 Billy Donovan, Florida
2009 Rick Barnes, Texas
2008 Pat Summitt, Tennessee
2007 Gene Keady, Purdue
2006 Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
2005 Jim Calhoun, Connecticut
2004 Mike Montgomery, Stanford
2003 Roy Williams, Kansas
2002 Denny Crum, Louisville
2001 Lute Olson, Arizona
2000 Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
1999 Dean Smith, North Carolina
About the John R. Wooden Award
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best basketball player at an NCAA Division I university who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97) and last year’s recipients, two-time winner Maya Moore (’09 and ’11), and BYU’s Jimmer Fredette.
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed nearly one million dollars to universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients and has sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament brings together Special Olympics athletes and the All American players in attendance. It is hosted at The Los Angeles Athletic Club during the John R. Wooden Award weekend.