“Floor Was Always Wet”: Despite Stars Like Paige Bueckers, Azzi Fudd, Celebrated NCAA Coach Describes Early Struggles to WNBA Legend Sue Bird

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Sue Bird is back with her new show titled “Sue’s Places.” The docuseries chronicles the history of college basketball, interviewing former players, coaches, and other key members. In the first episode, Bird invited the exceptionally talented coach Geno Auriemma, who has revolutionized the UConn Women’s basketball team since he joined almost forty years ago.
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When Bird questioned the Italy native on his impression of UConn at the time of arrival, Auriemma spoke at length about how “bad” the situation was when he first arrived in Connecticut in 1985.
Recollecting his initial days of taking charge, he said, “How bad? Umm… During my interview, they didn’t show me the gym. That should have been a sign. And we played in a gym where there was a track around it, and we couldn’t get the professors off the track to start our game. And for practice, the floor was always wet because it leaked and we didn’t have a locker room. We borrowed one during the season and then when the men had a home game, we had to move out because the visiting men’s team used that locker room. So it was a real mom-and-pop operation.”
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“Our first game there was a 145 students there. We had to do anything to get them there. They didn’t have to buy tickets. They were given away tickets. I could hear people talking in the stands and what they were saying. That’s how bad it was,” Auriemma recollected.
The Huskies women’s basketball team had had only a solitary winning season before Auriemma took over in 1985. UConn had a disdainful 12-15 record during his maiden season. After his first and only losing season, however, Connecticut quickly rose to prominence and notched their first-ever 20-win season, first conference title, and first NCAA Tournament appearance.
Now, with stars like Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd on the roster, the team has progressed so far that UConn has had 6 undefeated seasons in its history. They also have 11 NCAA tournament titles, making Auriemma the highest title-winning coach in women’s basketball.
For his exemplary services to UConn and brilliant record, Auriemma has been named the Naismith Coach of the Year 8 times until now. And the 69-year-old’s extraordinary guidance has also done wonders for the team this season.
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How have the UConn Huskies performed this season?
The Huskies have an 18-4 record in this NCAA season and are also ranked at the top spot in the Big East. They won their most recent game against the Villanova Wildcats and have an unbeaten 10-0 conference record. Though injuries have plagued them this season, much like the previous one, nonetheless the Huskies have displayed a fighting spirit. The UConn team boasts of such glorious stars as Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd, a gift for anyone who acquires them.
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Hopefully, Auriemma will once again show his magic on the big stage and, who knows, it might help UConn win another NCAA title.

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