Auriemma conference means business

By Carl Adamec

As the coach of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, Geno Auriemma considers himself a teacher. But even though he’s in the Hall of Fame, he never wants to stop learning.

That’s one of the reasons Auriemma is teaming up with the UConn School of Business to launch the Geno Auriemma UConn Leadership Conference, which will be held April 29-30 at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center.

“It’s a community event,” Auriemma said. “It’s not just a Geno Auriemma, women’s basketball, UConn athletics, UConn School of Business event. This is really is a community event that I think will galvanize the entire university and will benefit the entire university.

“This is as much for me and all the people here to learn from outside people.”

Auriemma was joined at Tuesday’s press conference by UConn President Susan Herbst, UConn School of Business Dean John Elliott, as well as faculty and staff.

“This program gives us a terrific opportunity to connect our talented pool of business school faculty, the wide-ranging knowledge of our UConn alumni, and some of the top leaders from among various industries and communities,” Herbst said. “The Auriemma Leadership Conference will be a valuable forum where we can learn from each other about what it takes to be a leader in the 21st century.

“I think Geno has done more for women’s collegiate athletics than almost anybody in the country. So he does that and then he is an ideal typical University citizen. He’s engaged with the rest of the University. He’s an intellectual. He’s everywhere. We’re blessed to have a coach who is so much more than a coach and so much of a leader for this higher education institution.”

The keynote speakers for the event will be Walmart President/CEO and UConn graduate Bill Simon along with Nike President Charlie Denson. The number of registrants will be limited to 150.

For more information, log on to http://www.genoleadership.com/

“There’s an awful lot going on at the University of Connecticut that doesn’t make it to the outside world. This is one way of doing that,” Auriemma said. “I’m not getting a dime out of this operation. Whatever profits we do generate is going to go directly into the School of Business for whatever purposes they feel fit to use. I have a speaking role and I will be involved in the entire event from the beginning to the end.”

Family feud
UConn leads the series with Colgate 3-0 heading into Wednesday’s matchup at the XL Center in Hartford (7 p.m., SNY) and it’s the first meeting between the Huskies and Patriot League Red Raiders since 2006.

Auriemma is friends with second-year Colgate coach Nicci Hays Fort, a former assistant to Doug Bruno at DePaul. But as a side note, UConn President Herbst’s brother, Jeffrey, is the president at Colgate.

“It wasn’t until after the fact that we realized it was going to be Herbst vs. Herbst WWE Smackdown,” Auriemma said with a smile. “I don’t know if that’s going to be the halftime entertainment. I’ve gotten more than a few memos from our fearless leader about what she wants the score to be. I’m under a little pressure.

“Then, you never know. Susan might leave in a couple of years and he might be the next president at Connecticut and I don’t want him mad at me before he even starts.”

Welcome to the league
Auriemma answered a question with a question when asked about Tulane (all sports) and East Carolina (football) joining the Big East.

“Really?” he said.

From there, it was just a lot of head shaking.

“I have no idea. Honest to God, I have no idea,” Auriemma said. “What does it mean? I can’t think of anything else to say other than I have no idea.”