Geno Auriemma's UConn Huskies are one win short of breaking their own NCAA record for longest streak in college basketball history. But more than a decade ago, the 11-time national championship coach considered leaving the job to take a position as a men's college basketball head coach.
Auriemma, who shared the story Thursday during an interview on "The Cal Cast", Kentucky coach John Calipari's podcast, indicated that "two things came up for me." Auriemma did not reveal which program he considered taking over. But at one point, he said, he had made up his mind to leave. Or so he thought.
"I had until midnight to make a decision. And I thought I had made the decision, and at the last minute my daughter, especially, talked me out of it," Auriemma said. "And I don't know why, it just was a family thing. But I was ready to go."
"I was ready to go from here to go coach a men's team. I knew what my staff was going to be, I knew exactly what it was going to look like," Auriemma added. "And it was something that I wanted to do. Against the advice of a lot of men's coaches that I respect who said, 'You're out of your mind. Why would you get involved in this mess?' "
Though Calipari said he "would have loved to have seen it," Auriemma's legacy has helped grow the women's game at all levels. The Huskies became the first team to win four consecutive NCAA titles last April and have notched six perfect seasons. The program, which has produced five No. 1 draft picks in the WNBA, has won 90 consecutive games for the second time since 2008.
"What you've done to elevate all of the women's game is going to be your legacy. It's not just what you've done at Connecticut," Calipari told Auriemma. "I would have loved to have seen you in a men's situation just to know, let everybody know, 'This guy's a coach.' You don't need to say, there doesn't need to be any tag before it. He's a coach. It's what he does."
Auriemma's Huskies play at SMU on Saturday for a shot at their 91st straight victory.