Geno’s Victory Versus Creighton puts him Second on the All-Time Wins List for UConn

After his team defeated No. 21 Creighton 73-53 on Monday, UConn head coach Geno Auriemma broke a tie with Mike Krzyzewski for the second-most wins by a head coach in Division I men’s or women’s college basketball.

With 1,203 career victories, all at UConn, Auriemma can now claim his crown. Tara VanDerveer, the coach at Stanford, is the only coach with more victories than him—1,209 total—after holding positions at Idaho, Ohio State, and Stanford.

“I think earlier in my career, to be honest with you, as things were happening that were very significant, they impacted me a lot more. But maybe the volume of things that have happened… I just take it in stride,” After the game, Auriemma stated, “You’re so fixated on winning, and you’re constantly being reminded every game of how many things your team’s not good at… you’re just so fixated on the things you have to fix, the things you have to correct. I’m sure there’ll be a time, this summer or next summer or whatever it is, when you think back and it’ll really have a huge impact on you.”

Turning 70 in March, Auriemma is in his 39th season at Storrs. He took over the team before of the 1985–86 season and transformed it into an unmatched juggernaut that dominated for decades. Six perfect seasons, two winning runs of 90 games or longer, and 11 national championship campaigns—the most of any coach in the history of the sport—accounted for a large portion of his 1,203 victories.

Notwithstanding all of that, Auriemma claims that after three seasons marred by a slew of injuries, he now values victory differently than he did in the past. Due to injuries, UConn is now without five players, all of whom were anticipated to be key rotation players or starters.

“I’m probably like a lot of our fans. We made it look so easy. It was never easy. But we made it look so easy for so long that you almost forget,” Auriemma remarked. “For me now, it’s like going back to the 80s and 90s where you had to play great and you knew that every game that you won was special. I’ve always said the only thing worse than losing is winning all the time.”

Prior to losing to Ohio State in the Sweet 16 of the most recent NCAA tournament, which concluded a season in which former national player of the year Paige Bueckers was sidelined due to an ACL tear, UConn had made it to 14 straight Final Fours. The two main players on this year’s undermanned squad are Bueckers and Aaliyah Edwards, the latter of whom has already promised to skip the WNBA draft in order to rejoin the Storrs the following season.

Nevertheless, Auriemma has led the No. 15 Huskies (23-5) to their 11th consecutive and 30th overall conference regular-season title, an undefeated record in Big East play, and a top seed in the conference tournament next month with their victory over Creighton, who came into the game having won 11 straight. According to ESPN’s most recent bracketology, UConn is presently projected as the No. 3 seed.

“I told the team today, this was one of the more gratifying [wins], and we celebrate wins more now than we used to,” Auriemma stated. “Maybe if we had all 14 of our players, maybe we would just be like we’ve always been here at UConn, but what we’ve gone through the last couple of years, you appreciate it way more, way more, and you appreciate your players more.”

VanDerveer has stated that she is thrilled to coach in the ACC next year after Stanford switched conferences, indicating that her retirement is not near. Although Auriemma hasn’t given a set timeframe for his retirement, he has frequently stated that he would know it was time to step down if UConn could no longer acquire the players it wanted. He and Bueckers will return for the upcoming season, he revealed on Friday.

“The passion and the wanting to win and the energy that goes into it, the feeling like this before every game, it’s the same as it was in the 80s, but I just think it means a little more now,” added Auriemma. “It’s like when you have it all and somebody takes it away from you, when you get it back, you tend to appreciate it more.”

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