Geno Auriemma (born Luigi Auriemma, March 23, 1954, in Montella, Italy) is the head coach of the University of Connecticut Huskies women's basketball team, which he has led to seven National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I national championships (in 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, and 2010). He has won six national Naismith College Coach of the Year awards.
He emigrated with his family to Norristown, Pennsylvania when he was seven years old, and spent the rest of his childhood there. After graduating from West Chester University of Pennsylvania in 1977, Auriemma was hired as an assistant coach at Saint Joseph's University, where he worked in 1978 and 1979. He then took a two-year absence from college basketball, serving as an assistant coach at his former high school, Bishop Kenrick, before assuming an assistant coaching position with the University of Virginia Cavaliers in 1981. Auriemma became a naturalized United States citizen in 1994, noting in his autobiography that he finally decided to naturalize when his UConn team was slated to tour Italy that summer and he was concerned about potential problems because he had never done any required national service.
Before Auriemma, the Huskies had posted just one winning season in their entire history. As was true at many schools at the time, Connecticut did not have a strong commitment to women's sports. Both players and coaches had to scrap for facilities and resources. Eventually, some students wishing to form a soccer team threatened to sue the university. The Trustees went on record supporting women's sports, and the administration decided to provide more support, especially for sports with a potential for revenue, such as women's basketball. The decision to hire a new coach was part of this commitment to strengthen the women's sports at Connecticut. Auriemma was the last of a series of interviews conducted by the search staff. Most of the other candidates were highly qualified coaches, and most were female. Ironically, one of those included in the interview process was Chris Dailey, who would become Auriemma's assistant, and is currently the Associate Head Coach at UConn. Dailey was identified as the candidate likely to receive an offer if Auriemma turned down the offer.