The University of Connecticut became the first college to win men’s and women’s Division I basketball championships in the same season. Now comes the hard part: sharing the spotlight.
Men’s Coach Jim Calhoun and women’s Coach Geno Auriemma have had a difficult relationship even in calm times.
“Jim and Geno’s relationship has a lot to do with the egos of coaching, and when you are a coach, you are actually putting what you think works against what someone else thinks works, whether it be X and O’s, recruiting or promotion,” St. Joseph’s men’s Coach Phil Martelli, a friend of Auriemma’s for 30 years, told the New York Times.
“From the handful of times I’ve been with them both, they do not have what I relate to as a friendship, but it isn’t like they’re the Hatfields and McCoys, and I don’t think of them as two guys in the Wild West who want to go out and have a duel.”
After the women’s team won the national championship in 1995, Calhoun was not amused by a popular bumper sticker that read: “UConn: where men are men, and women are champions.”
And Auriemma was hardly chuckling, a few years ago, when Calhoun said that UConn might be wise to have a day-care center and a senior citizens home for fans of its women’s team.
As Martelli said, they’re not friends.