Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma makes it look easy. The Huskies have won their last 109 games and many of those games have been blowouts.
You might think it would simple for Auriemma to recruit, but as he mentioned at last year’s women’s Final Four, it’s difficult to find players who are enthusiastic, happy and put their team first.
The Boston Globe said a hitting coach named Matt Lisle posted that video on Facebook on Monday and less than a day later it had nearly 27 million views. It’s clearly resonated with people:
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Here is what Auriemma said:
“Recruiting enthusiastic kids is harder than it’s ever been because every kid watches TV, and they watch the NBA or they watch Major League Baseball or they watch the NFL, whatever sport they watch, WNBA, it doesn’t matter, and what they see is people just being really cool. So they think that’s how they’re going to act. And they haven’t even figured out which foot to use as a pivot foot and they’re going to act like they’re really good players.”
“You see it all the time. You see it at every AAU tournament, you see it at every high school game. So recruiting kids that are really upbeat, and loving life, love the game, and have this tremendous appreciation for when their teammates do something well, that’s hard. That’s hard. It’s really hard.”
Auriemma relayed a story about star Breanna Stewart.
“So on our team we — me, my coaching staff — we put a huge premium on body language and if your body language is bad, you will never get in the game. Ever. I don’t care how good you are. If somebody says, ‘You just benched Stewie for 35 minutes in the Memphis game a couple years ago.’ Yeah, I did. ‘Oh, that was to motivate her for the South Carolina game the following Monday.’ No, it wasn’t. Stewie was acting like a 12-year-old, so I put her on the bench and said, ‘Sit there.’ It doesn’t matter on our team.
“Now other coaches might say, ‘Well, you can do that because you’ve got three other all-Americans.’ I get that. I understand that, but I’d rather lose than watch kids play the way some kids play. I’d rather lose. They’re allowed to get away with just whatever and they’re always thinking about themselves. Me, me, me, me, me. ‘I didn’t score, so why should I be happy?’ ‘I’m not getting enough minutes, why should I be happy?’ That’s the world that we live in today, unfortunately. Kids check the scoreboard sometimes because they’re going to get yelled at by their parents if they don’t score enough points.
“Don’t get me started. So when I look at my team, they know this. When I watch game film, I’m checking what’s going on on the bench. If somebody’s asleep over there, somebody doesn’t care, somebody’s not engaged in the game, they will never get in the game. Ever. And they know that. They know I’m not kidding.”