Pat Summitt and Geno Auriemma were one of the best rivals in college sports. The UCONN girls versus the Tennessee Volunteers was like UNC Tarheels versus Duke Blue Devils matchup in men college basketball. We can even compare the battle to the levels of Lakers versus Celtics or Peyton Manning against Tom Brady. Their rivalry was real and can never be remade.
When UCONN womens basketball coach Geno heard about his friend’s health declining, it took him by surprise according to ESPN reports.
“It’s sad to see her family go through this.
It’s really difficult.
She was the one that everyone tried to emulate. That was the program everyone tried to be.”
Geno made a statement today on how she influenced the game:
From a personal standpoint I think you can see how difficult it was back then for a woman to try to do something that really no one had ever done before, and no one thought you could do it. Trying to juggle being a mom and being a coach and being a representative for the game. From all the different aspects of looking at what her career was, there were a lot of things that she was the first. There were other people that did it, but nobody did it better or did it longer.
Former UCONN star and WNBA player Diana Taurasi says that Summitt made women basketball noticed.
If it wasn’t for her, we probably wouldn’t be playing in Madison Square Garden. Connecticut never would have been Connecticut. She made people take notice of the sport at a time when it probably wasn’t easy. She forced the hand. She was the one.