UConn coach Geno Auriemma was named a co-recipient of the 2012 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year award, USA Basketball announced today. He shared the award with Duke men’s coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Both coaches led the U.S. to a gold medal in the London Olympic Games and undefeated exhibition records in 2012.
“The opportunity to coach the Olympic Team is an amazing opportunity that you are very fortunate to have and all you want to do is a great job while putting the players in a position to be successful,’’ Auriemma said. “I thought our entire coaching staff, Doug Bruno, Marynell Meadors, Jen Gillom and everyone associated with our team from (Women’s National Team Director) Carol Callan on down, were outstanding. We got all the resources and support that we needed, and I think I owe a debt of gratitude to all of them, along with (USA Basketball Executive Director/CEO) Jim Tooley and (Chairman, USA Basketball Board of Directors) Jerry Colangelo for what they do.
“So, I don’t know that it was me as much as the support group we had around us and the great group of athletes I had the opportunity to coach. They were just unbelievably committed to winning, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be around a group like that ever again.’’
This is the second USA Basketball National Coach of the Year award for Auriemma, who also shared the honor with Krzyzewski in 2010.
The U.S. women’s gold medal was an unprecedented fifth-straight Olympic gold, a feat never before accomplished in any women’s traditional team sport, while under Krzyzewski’s hand the USA men captured a second-consecutive Olympic gold.
“Our two coaches built outstanding teams for USA Basketball that our country was proud to cheer on in London,’’ Tooley said. “From the start of their involvement with our national team programs, Coach K and Geno have exemplified the qualities they stressed to our players, including commitment, selfless service and excellence.’’
The USA Basketball Board of Directors is responsible for selecting USA Basketball’s annual awards.
The National Coach of the Year award was established in 1996 to recognize a USA Basketball head coach who, during the year of the award, made significant impact on the success of individual athlete and team performance at the highest level of competition.
In addition to Auriemma and Krzyzewski, previous winners include Jennifer Rizzotti (2011), Jamie Dixon (2009), Anne Donovan (2008, 2007), Gail Goestenkors (2005), Van Chancellor (2004, 2002), Larry Brown (2003, 1999), Jim Boeheim (2001), Nell Fortner (2000), Clem Haskins (1998), Mo McHone (1997) and Tara VanDerveer (1996).
In the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, Auriemma led the USA women to an 8-0 record and piloted the USA Women’s National Team to a 5-0 record during exhibition play in 2012.
“Coach Auriemma led the way, and he was never satisfied,’’ said Diana Taurasi, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and 2012 co-captain. “He always wanted more from us as individuals and as a unit. It was more than just winning a gold medal, it was about playing basketball the right way.’’
Under Auriemma’s leadership, the U.S. won by an average of 34.4 points per game during the Olympics and ranked No. 1 in 15 of 19 major statistical categories among the 12-team field, including scoring (90.6), field goal percentage (.484), rebounding margin (plus-17.2), blocked shots (41), assists (185), steals (84) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.67).
The team also recorded 2012 Olympic single-game highs for points scored (114), field goals made (52), field goals attempted (90), field goal percentage (.627), rebounds (62), assists (33), steals (15) and blocked shots (11), and set U.S. Olympic single-game records for points (tied), rebounds, field goals made, field goals attempted (tied), assists and blocked shots.
The 2012 squad also set U.S. Olympic competition records for field goals attempted (597), rebounds (404) and blocked shots (41).
Additionally, as part of USA Basketball’s Hoops for Troops program, Auriemma and members of the USA Women’s National Team conducted a clinic for approximately 50 children of military members on July 14 at the D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C.