"Controversial, confrontational, and driven, Coach Geno Auriemma is a force to be reckoned with - and the most accomplished male coach in women's basketball today. In his relentless quest for excellence at the University of Connecticut, he has led the Huskies to five national championships." "Yet his soul never rests. For Auriemma, life affords only the briefest moments of happiness - a good round of golf, forty minutes of great basketball, a day at the beach with his family, a nice glass of wine - while disaster is seemingly always waiting to strike. It's a fatalistic philosophy, a remnant of his hardscrabble early years, but it's an outlook that has driven him to unparalleled success." In this deeply personal memoir, Geno Auriemma reveals for the first time the man behind the legend. He talks candidly about his coaching style - famed for being one of the most demanding in all the sports world. He spills the beans about his stormy dealings with other coaches such as his archrival, Pat Summitt of the University of Tennessee. And with warmth and a genuine love for his champions, he writes openly about Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Nykesha Sales, Rebecca Lobo, Swin Cash, and all of his other UConn stars who have gone on to stellar WNBA careers. You get a courtside seat to all of the action - including an epilogue on the 2004-05 season, as well as interviews with the team's most celebrated players.
If nothing else, Auriemma, coach of the UConn women's basketball team since 1985, explains how little girls in Connecticut inherited the dreams of little boys in Indiana. The rise of a program with a leaky gym and roll-away bleachers to become a powerhouse with five national championships is a Hoosier-like tale. But Auriemma's book is merely the bones of the story, a slapdash chronicle of seasons. In his talky style, he is unable to flesh out the characters, and his anecdotes are stiff. One exception is his depiction of star Diana Taurasi cracking during a challenging season: "sitting on a bench, swaying back and forth and banging her elbows against the wall.... She is in withdrawal, like some kind of drug addict." On Auriemma's team, breakdowns are a good sign because they mean hunger. He prods individuals by saying things like "You suck" and "You are never going to make it." Auriemma's caustic style has earned him many critics, and his autobiography is more about self-defense than reflection. Nonetheless, it gives readers a chance to eavesdrop on the strategy of a hall-of-famer who chased perfection to the top. Auriemma's book will leave readers wishing he had told his story better--written his heart out, even. (Jan.)
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Grand Central Publishing
January 02, 2006
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