If UConn coaches switched jobs, which would do better?

March 29, 2011

Calhoun would succeed

Shannon Ryan

Chicago Tribune

Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma have transformed Storrs, Conn., from a rural campus to a hoops hotbed. Calhoun is back in the Final Four and has two championships under his belt with the men's team. Auriemma is the king of women's basketball with seven national titles, and the Huskies are the favorite to win another crown.

Both coaches are renowned for their gusto, outspokenness and ability to squeeze every ounce of talent out of their players.

For female players, Connecticut is a mecca. Calhoun must battle for recruits with players who believe it's a toss-up when deciding between the Huskies and most of the other elite teams.

And most nights, Calhoun must compete against greater talent because of the parity among teams.

Because Calhoun has found success with greater challenges, he could succeed in the women's game.

sryan@tribune.com

Geno gets the nod

Baxter Holmes

Los Angeles Times

Both Connecticut coaches are among college basketball's best, and each probably would struggle at first if thrown into the other's shoes.

Still, it's hard to pick against Geno Auriemma to coach any group of basketball players. His resume speaks for itself, quite loudly.

When it comes to managing high-class talent and egos and motivating players to keep pushing even when all they're competing against is record books, there have been few better. Everyone can say a men's coach coaching women or a women's coach coaching men is an apples-and-oranges situation, but coaching excellence is coaching excellence — because it's still about putting an orange ball in an orange rim and stopping your opponent from doing the same.

bholmes@tribune.com

Auriemma a natural fit

Paul Doyle

Hartford Courant

It requires no stretch of the imagination to envision Geno Auriemma at the helm of any men's basketball team in the country. Auriemma's face adorns billboards all over the state, and his brand is as strong as any in Connecticut, so we easily can picture Geno trading one office for another in Storrs. And we have no doubt Auriemma would win as a men's coach at UConn or anywhere else.

The notion of Jim Calhoun coaching the UConn women is enough to shake the Land of Steady Habits at its core. The boisterous Calhoun stomping into the women's basketball world could simultaneously be a sociological experiment, a train wreck and a hoot.

But Calhoun ultimately would succeed. That's why it would be so fun to watch — the irascible basketball lifer testing and teaching his players and pushing them to a breaking point before eventually finding a flow. Despite all of his machismo, Calhoun is a basketball coach at his core and would relish coaching the best players in the world — regardless of gender.

pdoyle@tribune.com

Both have proved worth

Matt Murschel

Orlando Sentinel

I'm sure there are at least one or two college basketball fans who would like to see Geno Auriemma get a shot at coaching a men's team, especially if it were the Huskies. The 57-year-old has won seven national championships and more than 700 games as the leader of the UConn women's program, but many wonder if he could translate that winning formula to the men's side.

Meanwhile, men's coach Jim Calhoun is no slouch himself. He has won two national titles and amassed more than 600 wins during his 25 seasons in Storrs. And both have been known to be cantankerous a time or two.

But I think more people want to know whether Auriemma would win at the men's level or fall flat on his face.

mmurschel@tribune.com

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