Informal talks between Lady Vols and UConn about resuming series

Geno Auriemma had requested an apology

Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, left, and Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick talk during a fundraiser for the Womenâs Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, June 8, 2013 at the East Tennessee Historical Center. 
  
 (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, 2013 Knoxville News Sentinel

Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, left, and Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick talk during a fundraiser for the Womenâs Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, June 8, 2013 at the East Tennessee Historical Center. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Debbie Antonelli talks about UT sports in Final Four

Geno Auriemma compliments Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw

Tennessee and Connecticut haven’t played a women’s basketball game since Jan. 6, 2007. They haven’t met for the national championship in 10 years.

Yet some memories were revisited amid the celebration following UConn’s 79-58 victory over Notre Dame at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. The Huskies’ ninth national championship broke a tie with Tennessee for the most in women’s history. UT head coach emeritus Pat Summitt issued a congratulatory statement. UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey recalled the early years of playing UT as formative in nature.

Presently, the two programs only share a storied past. But at least there’s been talk about a possible future.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma and Tennessee coach Holly Warlick both said this week that they have spoken informally about resuming the series.

“We’ll see where it goes,” Auriemma said Tuesday night.

The going will require something more substantial than the casual conversation that took place last June when Auriemma visited Knoxville for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The series ended in acrimonous fashion after UT filed with the SEC office more than 30 pages of complaints regarding Connecticut’s recruiting during a five-month period in 2006. Although the name was redacted in the documents, there was an apparent reference to then-top recruit Maya Moore’s visit to ESPN. The network reported that Tennessee lodged a complaint over the private tour the Huskies women’s basketball office helped arrange for Moore and her mother, Kathryn.

Warlick said on Monday that Auriemma indicated during their conversation last June that he wanted an apology first before resuming the series.

“I asked him if he wanted to play,” Warlick said. “He said he would if I apologized to his fans, former players, Maya Moore, her mother. I’m not going to do that.”

When asked Tuesday if an apology was a prerequisite, Auriemma said: “I want to make sure that we set the record straight. I think there were a lot of hard feelings for a lot of people when all that stuff happened. It is water under the bridge in some ways, you know. I think we’re past it. But you also can’t be ‘hey, don’t worry about it.’ ”

He then added: “Let’s put it this way, if it’s going to get done, it will get done. But I don’t know. I haven’t talked to them in awhile.”

Both programs could benefit from playing each other. After finishing 40-0 and winning their second consecutive championship, UConn is the measuring stick for Tennessee and all other programs.

Lady Vol Bashaara Graves stated her ambitions on Twitter Tuesday night by saying: “You can believe it or not we coming. I’m not leaving here without at least one Naty.”

Seeing was believing how dominant the Huskies could be. What began as a battle of unbeatens with Notre Dame unraveled into a rout that featured a 52-22 UConn edge in paint points and a 54-31 domination of the boards.

Connecticut, on the other hand, needs a strong non-conference schedule to offset playing in the American Athletic Conference. Even with UConn, Realtimerpi.com ranked the league sixth in RPI this season. To make matters worse, the conference is losing Louisville, which reached the Elite Eight, and Rutgers, which won the WNIT.

Regarding the chances of Connecticut and Tennessee playing again, Auriemma offered the following as a closing comment: “Reasonable people will figure out a way to get it done, probably.”

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Comments » 46

GerryOP writes:

Holly and Dave, just tell Auriemma to Go To He11. He never gave Pat any respect. If it wasn't for what Pat Summitt did to lead women's basketball to where it is today, Auriemma would be hustling pickup games every evening down at the UConn Rec Center. Now, he wants an apology?

(Sorry folks, this is not my usual style. Auriemma wants an apology? I rank him right down there in the dirt with Calipari ... trash.)

magicbyswh#221420 writes:

No way UT tell him to stick it. Holly how do you like Geno being the measuring stick. At least Pat was the measuring stick when she was coaching. Too bad Holly you are trying to catch UCONN.

MikeNPS writes:

Never apologize to that jerk.

UTANDNOBAMA writes:

The truth will stand when the world burns. The guy is as crooked as a dogs hind leg.

CaptainPicard writes:

The LVs should never schedule to play UConn as long as Geno is the head coach. To do otherwise will be a slap in the face to Pat. Even then, Holly needs to improve her coaching skills before resuming play with UConn after Geno.

Theo writes:

in response to magicbyswh#221420:

No way UT tell him to stick it. Holly how do you like Geno being the measuring stick. At least Pat was the measuring stick when she was coaching. Too bad Holly you are trying to catch UCONN.

So you think that all happened inthe last 24 months? I am so sick of the whining Holly haters. Give her a freakin chance for gods sake! All of the folks who have elevated Pat to sainthood should remember Pat could have named virtually any coach in the country as her successor. A call could have been made and we could have had that coach with the exception of Geno and Tara. (If I were Tara I would stay at beautiful Stanford till I died). She chose Holly. She felt Holly was the absolute best choice to take over her life's work. So for all of you folks batching about Holly you are in essence saying you know coaching better than Pat.

CaptainPicard writes:

in response to Theo:

So you think that all happened inthe last 24 months? I am so sick of the whining Holly haters. Give her a freakin chance for gods sake! All of the folks who have elevated Pat to sainthood should remember Pat could have named virtually any coach in the country as her successor. A call could have been made and we could have had that coach with the exception of Geno and Tara. (If I were Tara I would stay at beautiful Stanford till I died). She chose Holly. She felt Holly was the absolute best choice to take over her life's work. So for all of you folks batching about Holly you are in essence saying you know coaching better than Pat.

Theo, I disagree with your comment that UT could have had any coach to succeed Pat with the exception of Geno and Tara. You need to add a number of others to that list like Muffet. Also, not many coaches relish the task of replacing a legend. Naming Holly to replace Pat was a riskier decision than naming an established winning coach from a lesser know school to replace her. Wes Moore, formerly of UTC, would have been a good choice and not as risky.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

You have to give Geno credit, he sure has testicles requesting an apology for cheating. If I were a male staffer with the Lady Vols program I wouldn't give him the sweat off mine.

frank#220902 writes:

I think there needs to be an apology but from geno along w/ 5 years probation or maybe a Pearl penalty.

oldster writes:

One should never apologize for telling the truth, although I must admit I did have to give a few for answering some of my wife's questions about her outfit for the night truthfully.

SoddyVol writes:

There was a lot more going on than the ESPN tour for Moore, most of it having to do with her mother getting a place to stay near the school plus getting her mothers hand bag business set up at Conn. Geno, with the help of UConn's neighbor, ESPN, got things smoothed over with the NCAA. I think he got a minor reprimand. Geno can brag about wins in championship games vs UT. However, it is interesting (at least to me) that the last three times Conn has played Tenn, UT won all three--Two in Connecticut with the middle game in Knoxville.

Theo writes:

in response to CaptainPicard:

Theo, I disagree with your comment that UT could have had any coach to succeed Pat with the exception of Geno and Tara. You need to add a number of others to that list like Muffet. Also, not many coaches relish the task of replacing a legend. Naming Holly to replace Pat was a riskier decision than naming an established winning coach from a lesser know school to replace her. Wes Moore, formerly of UTC, would have been a good choice and not as risky.

I may or may not give you Muffit. I don't know what their facilities, fan and administration support are like. Hard to argue with our facilities and yet again top attendance for the NCAA. Let's say any coach under 55 who has not been at their school 20 plus years. That takes out Sylvia Hatchell and Vivian Stringer(close to retirement.
Surely, however, you do not believe Pat thought "you know, no one is going to want to coach at UT. I guess we are stuck with Holly."

forkball writes:

in response to oldster:

One should never apologize for telling the truth, although I must admit I did have to give a few for answering some of my wife's questions about her outfit for the night truthfully.

Hilarious

atnvol#283282 writes:

I would like for TN to resume the series with UCONN.....after Geno retires and not before. If for no other reason out of respect for Pat Summitt.

vollady writes:

in response to atnvol#283282:

I would like for TN to resume the series with UCONN.....after Geno retires and not before. If for no other reason out of respect for Pat Summitt.

Yes, I agree with most of this post. Don't even think about it, out of respect to Pat Summitt. There are plenty of schools to choose to play, but never UConn again. To play Geno, would be another win for him personally. No, never again, plus it would be extra hard for Tyler to have to play UConn, when he becomes coach at UT.

underthehill writes:

Holly..you have made a huge PR blunder..with the attendance and support the Lady Vols have..why in the world would you think you need U Conn..use your common sense or if you don't have any ..ask somebody who does..do you think ESPN wants to televise U Conn games with Podunk U..do you see Notre Dame helping U Conn by playing regular season games with them even tho ND has beaten them 7 of the last 10 times ..I think ND knows there are recruiting violations and they want no part of U Conn because of it..Holly ..you have offended your own fans by talking to this scumbag..

RLL59 writes:

UT should do what is in its best interests, and give only slight consideration to emotion. By that I mean don't do something outrageous like apologizing for the accusations, but don't worry about losing fans if the decision is to pursue playing them again. Face it, if you're virulent enough about Auriemma to post nasty things about him on this site, you're not going to abandon the Lady Vols because they play a basketball game against UConn. If playing them again helps recruiting, fan interest, prestige, rankings, etc...., from a logical viewpoint, why not?

nanny334#1419965 writes:

Well Well once again Gino is going to need UT. First to establish his dynasty now to keep it, How long can He keep it up playing in that weak American Athletic Conference? He now is going to need any top team He can get to get a worthwhile RPI. I hope UT and every other power in the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 ect. refuse to play him. He has acted like He is the King Kong of women's basketball. Now let him fall to the bottom of the barrel, Apologise, I don't think so..

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

If you want to be the best you have to beat the best and the Lady Vols haven't been on that stage in 6 years.
The LV's teetered on the edge all year and couldn't beat Stanford, Notre Dame, Baylor, Maryland during the season. They beat UNC but wouldn't today. Louisville would have been another embarrassing loss and playing UConn would have been the worst beat down in LV history.
The program began the decline under Pat as the LV's forgot how to be the aggressor and play fundamentally sound BB. When the decline started the coaches and players in woman's basketball became better and up afraid of the LV's.
Play UConn and beat them is the litmus test for a successful significant program, just like beating the mullet heads, gators, dawgs, and tigers in football.
If you don't play the best and win you are insignificant!

johnlg00 writes:

Good arguments on both sides of the issue of renewing the regular-season series. However, I think it would be better for all concerned if it didn't happen for another few years, if ever. I would rather face them and hopefully beat them a couple of times in the NCAAs and THEN maybe renew the series. The LVs should have their best chance in years of winning a championship next year if they can get a few things fixed. Renewing the series now would look like UT needs UConn more than the other way around, which I am not sure is the case. Almost every other big-time program is perfectly willing to play the LVs, while, as the article stated, UConn is having a bit of trouble scheduling what seems to be a growing number of quality out-of-conference opponents.

kaida71 writes:

I think someone needs to take Holly and hypnotize her into having a Killer Instinct... Geno couldn't even get a glance across the room from me

RockyTop1 writes:

As pointed out in the article, they need Tennessee more than we need them. Yes, they are on top but in a VERY weak conference that is not going to help them going forward.

There WILL be a payday someday and it will be a HARD payback - take that to the bank!! GO LADY VOLS!!

RLL59 writes:

in response to nanny334#1419965:

Well Well once again Gino is going to need UT. First to establish his dynasty now to keep it, How long can He keep it up playing in that weak American Athletic Conference? He now is going to need any top team He can get to get a worthwhile RPI. I hope UT and every other power in the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 ect. refuse to play him. He has acted like He is the King Kong of women's basketball. Now let him fall to the bottom of the barrel, Apologise, I don't think so..

So, you think that UConn will fall to the 'bottom of the barrel' because they can't keep up an RPI rating? There are plenty of arrogant coaches in basketball and I have yet to see one of them fail because they can't find enough quality opponents , nor because they can't find a league that will accept them. Being an ardent fan doesn't mean one has to live in a dream world.

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

The only way to knock a bully or thug off their pedestal is to beat them over and over again.
It doesn't matter what conference they are in or who they play during the regular season for UConn and Geno! If they run the table again like they have five times with undefeated seasons then they win another NC regardless of a weak RPI and seeding. You really think ESPN and the national media is going to punish UConn for their schedule if they dominate?
This is like the football team under doofus and Bama Dave dropping UNC from the regular season for patsies and dropping Ohio State and Nebraska in future years from the regular season.
If you are scared to play better teams and beat them then you will never improve and ultimately lose the fans, athletes and the program!

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

Congratulations posters for not responding to people who only post comments to stir up phooey. If he doesn't get response on one sarcastic post he just posta another. Congratulations again for not responding. Let's keep it that way and maybe he'll disappear.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

Congratulations posters for not responding to people who only post comments to stir up phooey. If he doesn't get response on one sarcastic post he just posta another. Congratulations again for not responding. Let's keep it that way and maybe he'll disappear.

It's amazing what words this site won't allow. Phooey wasn't my first choice.

GBOEngineer writes:

Not sure the reason for these teams to play again. What good does it do for either team for UConn to put an annual 20 point loss on the LVs?

Allenfan writes:

in response to underthehill:

Holly..you have made a huge PR blunder..with the attendance and support the Lady Vols have..why in the world would you think you need U Conn..use your common sense or if you don't have any ..ask somebody who does..do you think ESPN wants to televise U Conn games with Podunk U..do you see Notre Dame helping U Conn by playing regular season games with them even tho ND has beaten them 7 of the last 10 times ..I think ND knows there are recruiting violations and they want no part of U Conn because of it..Holly ..you have offended your own fans by talking to this scumbag..

Get your facts straight. UConn did not renew the series, Notre Dame tried, but UConn said there was no space on their schedule. To be the best sooner or later you have to play the best, forget about playground spats.

MaxVolFan writes:

We shouldnt be worrying about Uconn at all . We should be worrying about how to stop a rising SEC team in SC or keeping Wildcats off our backs. With the load of talent and experience we have next year there is absolutely no excuse not to win the SEC and tourney and to make the final four. All of our players has playing experience that other teams hasn't had. All of our players has played major mins while teams like Stanford, ND , Duke and Uconn sat players on the pine all year. Its time to give the players the skills they need to win.

underthehill writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Good arguments on both sides of the issue of renewing the regular-season series. However, I think it would be better for all concerned if it didn't happen for another few years, if ever. I would rather face them and hopefully beat them a couple of times in the NCAAs and THEN maybe renew the series. The LVs should have their best chance in years of winning a championship next year if they can get a few things fixed. Renewing the series now would look like UT needs UConn more than the other way around, which I am not sure is the case. Almost every other big-time program is perfectly willing to play the LVs, while, as the article stated, UConn is having a bit of trouble scheduling what seems to be a growing number of quality out-of-conference opponents.

I agree ..UConn is having trouble scheduling and they need UT more than UT needs them..my opinion is ESPN would love to see UConn schedule any team that would be a good draw for the viewers..and a game that would appeal to the advertisers..I have no doubt they have a much smaller following nationwide than UT..and the SEC gets plenty of coverage and sells plenty of advertising..like Gerry OP says..to heck with UConn...

murrayvol writes:

in response to oldster:

One should never apologize for telling the truth, although I must admit I did have to give a few for answering some of my wife's questions about her outfit for the night truthfully.

The truth does not always set you free.

Snapshot writes:

in response to WaitUntilNextYear:

If you want to be the best you have to beat the best and the Lady Vols haven't been on that stage in 6 years.
The LV's teetered on the edge all year and couldn't beat Stanford, Notre Dame, Baylor, Maryland during the season. They beat UNC but wouldn't today. Louisville would have been another embarrassing loss and playing UConn would have been the worst beat down in LV history.
The program began the decline under Pat as the LV's forgot how to be the aggressor and play fundamentally sound BB. When the decline started the coaches and players in woman's basketball became better and up afraid of the LV's.
Play UConn and beat them is the litmus test for a successful significant program, just like beating the mullet heads, gators, dawgs, and tigers in football.
If you don't play the best and win you are insignificant!

Speaking of insignificant, you are. If you think they should apologize to that scum-bag you are nuts, and are no Lady Vol fan. Maybe you don't have any problem with coaches that break the rules, but some of us do.

psychovol2 writes:

Isn't this the same guy that said women's basketball acts like a bunch of girls? I don't think that was a compliment. Who's acting like a little girl now?

JSmith525 writes:

in response to GBOEngineer:

Not sure the reason for these teams to play again. What good does it do for either team for UConn to put an annual 20 point loss on the LVs?

I could be wrong there Dillard, But I thought that the last three games they played each other that the Lady Vols won. Lady Vols are right back on track. Go things are going to happen for this team. GO Lady Vols, NC in 15!

tjmorgan1986 writes:

Holly needs to tell him to kiss her arse.

ATL_VOL_FAN writes:

UT should not apologize, however, I do believe they should resume the series with UCONN. While I understand the reasoning behind CPS ending the series, you cannot deny it has had an impact on the program. Even she for the most part has moved on (Time heals all wounds). BTW South Carolina is now on UCONN's non-conference schedule. This certainly was no blunder on CHW's part!

CaptainPicard writes:

in response to Theo:

I may or may not give you Muffit. I don't know what their facilities, fan and administration support are like. Hard to argue with our facilities and yet again top attendance for the NCAA. Let's say any coach under 55 who has not been at their school 20 plus years. That takes out Sylvia Hatchell and Vivian Stringer(close to retirement.
Surely, however, you do not believe Pat thought "you know, no one is going to want to coach at UT. I guess we are stuck with Holly."

The LVs have the greatest fan support in WCBB. They have great facilities also. Be that as it may, any coach would have trepidations about following a legend like Pat with the exception of Geno. Holly was given the position solely because of her 25+ years of loyalty to Pat. Wes Moore would have accepted the position in a heartbeat despite the trepidations.

ATL_VOL_FAN writes:

Lady Vol Bashaara Graves stated her ambitions on Twitter Tuesday night by saying: “You can believe it or not we coming. I’m not leaving here without at least one Naty.”

Claim it BG! Be the catalyst!

Theo writes:

in response to CaptainPicard:

The LVs have the greatest fan support in WCBB. They have great facilities also. Be that as it may, any coach would have trepidations about following a legend like Pat with the exception of Geno. Holly was given the position solely because of her 25+ years of loyalty to Pat. Wes Moore would have accepted the position in a heartbeat despite the trepidations.

I'm sure he would as would any other high school coach in the country. You surely can't think he would be a serious candidate.
I totally disagree about Holly being awarded for loyalty and longevity. Pat would not turn her program over to someone just for those reasons.

CaptainPicard writes:

in response to Theo:

I'm sure he would as would any other high school coach in the country. You surely can't think he would be a serious candidate.
I totally disagree about Holly being awarded for loyalty and longevity. Pat would not turn her program over to someone just for those reasons.

Theo, please. Wes Moore, formerly coach of the women's basketball team at UTC (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) is a college coach and a very successfully one at that. He presently coaches the women's basketball team at North Carolina State. If Holly was not awarded the position of head coach other than loyalty and longevity,then, pray tell, what was the reason? She had no experience as a head coach. She did have experience as an assistant coach at Nebraska and VA Tech.

Theo writes:

in response to CaptainPicard:

Theo, please. Wes Moore, formerly coach of the women's basketball team at UTC (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) is a college coach and a very successfully one at that. He presently coaches the women's basketball team at North Carolina State. If Holly was not awarded the position of head coach other than loyalty and longevity,then, pray tell, what was the reason? She had no experience as a head coach. She did have experience as an assistant coach at Nebraska and VA Tech.

Well, you missed the tongue in cheek inference that coaching at UTC is the same as coaching high school. But, I also thought he was still at UTC so my bad on that.
Regarding Pat's reasoning for selecting Holly, I would say she might have felt Holly had learned everything Pat knew over the years regarding recruiting, scouting, player development, game planning and management, athletic department politics, ncaa rules, player psychology, work ethics, chalk throwing, whistle blowing, foot stomping, arm folding, glaring (alright no one will ever do that like Pat) etc., etc.
In short, Pat worked with her everyday and knew exactly what she had been exposed to, what her strengths and weaknesses were and the fact that there was no other human on the planet more dedicated to keeping the Lady Vols at the top of the women's game. Don't you think it speaks to Holly's commitment to UT that she didn't go somewhere else when opportunities arose? She could have, by this time in her career, been a head coach at another major program for 15 years.
The crab apples on here really fail to see what we have in Holly. I look forward to witnessing crow eating over the next few years.

SoddyVol writes:

in response to Theo:

I'm sure he would as would any other high school coach in the country. You surely can't think he would be a serious candidate.
I totally disagree about Holly being awarded for loyalty and longevity. Pat would not turn her program over to someone just for those reasons.

To compare Wes Moore to "any other high school coach" shows how little you know about Univ. of Tenn. at Chattanooga. Wes won the Southern Conf consistently. He can recruit. Just look at how his team at NC State improved this his first year on the job. He has long ago proved he has great coaching ability. Two things I don't understand; Why it took so long for a major school to grab him and how, with an ugly mug like his, he could marry the beautiful former Miss NC.

CaptainPicard writes:

in response to Theo:

Well, you missed the tongue in cheek inference that coaching at UTC is the same as coaching high school. But, I also thought he was still at UTC so my bad on that.
Regarding Pat's reasoning for selecting Holly, I would say she might have felt Holly had learned everything Pat knew over the years regarding recruiting, scouting, player development, game planning and management, athletic department politics, ncaa rules, player psychology, work ethics, chalk throwing, whistle blowing, foot stomping, arm folding, glaring (alright no one will ever do that like Pat) etc., etc.
In short, Pat worked with her everyday and knew exactly what she had been exposed to, what her strengths and weaknesses were and the fact that there was no other human on the planet more dedicated to keeping the Lady Vols at the top of the women's game. Don't you think it speaks to Holly's commitment to UT that she didn't go somewhere else when opportunities arose? She could have, by this time in her career, been a head coach at another major program for 15 years.
The crab apples on here really fail to see what we have in Holly. I look forward to witnessing crow eating over the next few years.

Theo, My bad to miss your "tongue-in-cheek" reference to Wes Moore as a high school coach. Please forgive me. However, Wes is a great coach, as SoddyVol commented and many others know as well. The LVs would have been fortunate to have hired him as head coach. Certainly, I commend Holly for her many years of dedication, commitment and loyalty to the women's basketball program at UT. However, none of these qualities can assure that she will be a good head coach. Wes Moore has a proven track record as a quality head coach.

Theo writes:

in response to CaptainPicard:

Theo, My bad to miss your "tongue-in-cheek" reference to Wes Moore as a high school coach. Please forgive me. However, Wes is a great coach, as SoddyVol commented and many others know as well. The LVs would have been fortunate to have hired him as head coach. Certainly, I commend Holly for her many years of dedication, commitment and loyalty to the women's basketball program at UT. However, none of these qualities can assure that she will be a good head coach. Wes Moore has a proven track record as a quality head coach.

Sure he is a good guy. Hopefully Holly will have us back in the final four in the next couple of years and coulda woulda shoulda will be moot.

ModelMaker writes:

UConn has recruited three #1 player's since Parker left. TN has recruited one. I don't know where Dolson was ranked so it may have been more. If you even want a ticket to ride you better recruit as well, or realistically you well have no chance to beat him. Get the players then don't just talk the talk, walk the walk and out coach him. A good place to start is get A'ja Wilson. That would make all TN fans year.

CaptainPicard writes:

A'ja Wilson is not coming to TN. She will go to South Carolina, her home state university or UConn. She will be disappointed if she chooses UConn because Breanna Stewart occupies the position she wants to play.

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