The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, ranked No. 1 in the country as the NCAA March Madness tournament continues, probably wouldn’t have the success it has experienced without the tone set by head coach Geno Auriemma.
In an after-game press conference after defeating Albany University on Saturday, Auriemma stressed the importance of selflessness in succeeding in sports.
Auriemma said that recruiting students is “harder than it’s ever been” because kids watching sports on television often mimic the behavior of the professional athletes.
“So recruiting kids that are really upbeat and loving life and love the game and have this tremendous appreciation for when their teammates do something well…that’s hard,” he said.
Auriemma said that the team puts a “huge premium on body language” and that if it’s bad, he won’t put a player in the game.
“If your body language is bad, you will never get in the game. Ever,” he said. “I don’t care how good you are.”
Auriemma said he won’t let his athletes play selfishly and “get away with just – whatever,” adding that when he watches game film he pays attention to what’s happening on the bench.
“I’d rather lose than watch kids play the way some kids play,” referencing students who are preoccupied with how many points they scored or how many minutes they played.
UConn is heading to 24th consecutive Sweet Sixteen after defeating Syracuse University on Monday. The Huskies ptlay UCLA on Saturday for a chance to advance to the Elite Eight.
Other Must-Read Stories: