UConn’s Geno Auriemma joins Phil Jackson, Scotty Bowman, John Wooden in hunt for best coach
Is Geno Auriemma the best coach of all time? Not just the best women’s basketball coach, but the best coach, period.
It’s a fair question.
Auriemma and the Connecticut Huskies beat Notre Dame 79-58 on Tuesday night to earn the program's record ninth NCAA title. UConn finished the season perfect at 40-0.
Auriemma is 9-0 in championship games, passing Tennessee's Pat Summitt, who won her eighth and final title in 2008. The win secured the program's fifth perfect season; no other women's team in the NCAA era has more than one. It's the Huskies' fourth title in the past six seasons.
Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel have seven World Series wins apiece as managers. Chuck Noll has the most Super Bowl championships with four.
Phil Jackson has collected 11 rings as an NBA head coach, but also had the luxury of coaching Michael Jordan, Shaq and Kobe Bryant. Red Auerbach won nine NBA titles, but coached legends such as Bill Russell and Bob Cousy.
Scotty Bowman won nine Stanley Cups as a head coach, though he isn’t as beloved as he should be. Perhaps because his Cups were spread out over 30 years and three organizations. Auriemma has eight titles since 2000, all with UConn.
John Wooden won 10 national championships during his incredible run at UCLA. Auriemma could tie Wooden by this time next year. Wooden won seven in a row from 1964-1973 and Auriemma could still tie him.
Auriemma’s nine championships are just as, if not more, impressive than his legendary peers. Yes, the UConn coach is peers with Jackson, Auerbach, Bowman and Wooden whether you like it or not.
Auriemma gets it done with a new group of players every year. The names on the back of the jerseys change but the results remain the same. I’m not saying Auriemma is a better coach than Jackson, Wooden, Bowman, etc… but he’s in the conversation. By winning his ninth title on Tuesday night, Auriemma officially joined the conversation.
When reached by phone, a spokesperson for the UConn Athletic Department declined comment.
At age 60, Auriemma still has plenty of time to start a new conversation. If he wins a few more titles, the question will be: Who is the second best coach after Geno Auriemma?
Questions? Hit me on Twitter @briansflood