Oct. 24, 2012
STORRS, Conn.-The University of Connecticut women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma was recently awarded the National Italian American Foundation’s Special Achievement Award in Sports. Auriemma has been a pillar in collegiate women’s basketball and has compiled an 804-129 record in his 27 years at the helm of the Huskies.
The NIAF is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational foundation that promotes Italian American culture and heritage. It serves as a resource on the Italian American community and has educational and youth programs including scholarships, grants, heritage travel and mentoring.
Auriemma, who coached the gold medal-winning women’s USA team in London at the 2012 Summer Olympics, became only the sixth coach all-time to eclipse the 800-win plateau when he led the Huskies to their fifth-straight BIG EAST Tournament Championship on March 6. In his 27 years in Storrs, Auriemma has led UConn to seven national titles, 13 Final Fours and four undefeated seasons, including 39-0 NCAA title-producing campaigns in 2009 and 2010. His all-time coaching record is 804-129 (.862/27 yrs), tops among active NCAA coaches and No. 2 all-time in win percentage. His all-time record in the NCAA tournament is an astounding 85-17 (.833/24 yrs.).
Away from the court, Auriemma is involved in numerous regional and state charitable and educational efforts. He implemented a statewide elementary reading initiative called Geno’s Reading Team in 2008 in Connecticut. He has worked tirelessly in the fight against cancer and established “Geno’s Cancer Team” in 2008, while working closely with the V Foundation and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Auriemma annually hosts the Fore the Kids Golf Outing to benefit the CT Children’s Hospital, as well as working with his team on community charity events throughout the year.
Auriemma received his award on October 13 at the NIAF’s 37th Anniversary Gala with twelve-time MLB All-Star Mike Piazza as the Master of Ceremonies. Other recipients of this year’s award include Giovanni Ferrero, Ralph Izzo, Letizia Moratti, Mark Del Rosso and L’Accademis Nazionale dei Lincei.