While we were all busy watching New England win and Andy Reid do Andy Reid things this weekend, the UConn Huskies women's basketball team and their head coach Geno Auriemma were busy breaking their own consecutive win streak. From 2008-2010, the Huskies won 90 straight games before eventually going down to Stanford, and now their streak sits at 91 straight and counting. Expert analysis: that's bananas.
Coach Auriemma sat down for an interview with the New York Post after breaking his own win record, and the whole conversation is fantastic and well worth your time. Geno's got a Philly guy's bluntness and love for words your mom doesn't like, and eventually the conversation went towards coaches that Geno admires, across all sports. The list has a bunch of heavy hitters and a few surprises, like Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, the 49ers' Bill Walsh, and Tom Landry from the glory days of the Dallas Cowboys. Then he gets asked about Bill Belichick, and here's where it gets great:
"Their ability to plug people into spots regardless, and then year after year...I love when people criticize really successful coaches. I remember reading one article one time - "Yeah, well, if Phil Jackson didn't have Shaq and Kobe, and if he didn't coach Michael and Pippen, where the hell would he be?" Well, no s--t. Where would any coach be? If Lombardi didn't coach 10 Hall of Famers, where would he be? If Chuck Noll didn't coach 10 Hall of Famers, if Red Auerbach - you name it. You don't get to be discussed the way we're discussing people unless they coached great players. "He's got Tom Brady" - well, no s--t You still got to know what to do with him."
(You have to wonder if a few certain people...not naming any names...at the Post's ears started burning when Geno was laying it down like that)
He's absolutely right, though - just look at how many talented players play on teams that never had a snowball's chance in Hawaii at even playing for a championship because of coaches that were either too arrogant to change their systems or couldn't find a way to fit a stud athlete into their game plan. Brady's obviously going to go down as arguably the greatest quarterback to play the game, but if Belichick tried to run an offense that didn't take advantage what Brady and the guys do best, then maybe we're sitting here like when we were kids and wondering if the Patriots would ever play for a championship that didn't involve getting boat-raced by the '85 Bears.
One more thing: apparently Geno's definition of a perfect basketball player is "...as athletic as Breanna Stewart and had Diana Taurasi's feel and had Maya Moore's work ethic, you put those three things together, and you take Sue Bird's ability, you take her mind."
Sounds good to me.
Check out the whole piece, which includes a pretty great "Well, shoot" story about John Wooden forgetting who Geno was, here.