The Huskies of Honor represents the greatest of the greats in the history of the UConn women’s basketball program. In order to gain admittance a player must earn first-team All-American honors. That is how Huskies’ coach Geno Auriemma wanted it.
Svetlana Abrosimova, Kerry Bascom, Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tina Charles, Rebecca Lobo, Maya Moore, Renee Montgomery, Shea Ralph, Jennifer Rizzotti, Nykesha Sales, Diana Taurasi and Kara Wolters have been inducted. Auriemma and the 1994-95, 1999-00 and 2001-02 national championship teams have been honored as well.
Junior Bria Hartley, who was named a WBCA All-American last season, will be inducted next season. So will the 2002-03 and 2003-04 national championship teams.
Another name that often comes up in discussion is UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey, who has been by Auriemma’s side since 1985. Here is Auriemma’s take on Dailey’s inclusion in the Huskies of Honor …
“First of all, there’s a couple of different things,’’ Auriemma said. “There’s an All-America thing and then there’s other things. Whether it’s CD or Jamelle (Elliott) … There’s been a lot of great players come through here that haven’t made first-team All-American. It doesn’t mean they were not great players for us. So I think you’ve always got to differentiate between what’s the purpose of that up there. I was the most surprised person when they put name up there. I’m the coach. Why is my name up there? I’m still coaching. I’m not retired. Like if they wanted to do it when I retired I would say, `OK, I’ll come back, wave to everybody. Hi. How are you doing?’ But why? I’ve always thought that’s a place for players that made first-team All-American. And then if you want to do something for coaches after they’re not here that’s great. And I’m sure at some point CD’s name will be up. It deserves to be up there. When? I don’t know. If you asked her, three years ago.
“But I made a decision when it first started, I said if you make first team All-American then you go up there. That takes all the guesswork out. That takes all the voting out. Because how to separate Jamelle Elliott from Carla Berube, let’s say? Can you? They were both as significant. How do you separate the two of them from Meghan Pattyson? OK, Meghan didn’t win a national championship. How do you separate Rita Williams from Renee Montgomery? (A national championship). OK, but without Rita Williams we don’t win 30 games all those years. Asjha Jones. Tamika Williams. Asjha Jones is the best player not on that wall. She’s on the Olympic team and she’s not on that wall.’’
Auriemma said Monday that in the future the Huskies of Honor might become a multi-tier program that will include those special players that did not meet the criteria of being named a first team All-American.
“What it is is down the road you’re going to have levels,’’ Auriemma said. “So at the top level you’ve got all your first team All-Americans. And then on the next level, with a barrier in between, then you’ve got the next guys, that without them we wouldn’t be as good as we’ve been.’’