Friday, December 31, 2010

Auriemma our overwhelming choice for Sportsman of Year

Geno Auriemma should be Sportsman of the Year. I write this one day after the Connecticut coach lost his first game of the year. That's right. One loss. 100 games. That's right. Auriemma is also the US National Team coach, which won the FIBA World Championships with a 9-0 sweep. Auriemma shared USA Basketball Coach of the Year honors with Mike Krzyzewski.

UConn looked human on Thursday night against a jacked up Stanford team that had won 51 first in its own arena. What's stunning about that is the Huskies haven't looked mortal for 90 games. They've come to your place, pitched their tent, taken your best shot, gone to work and gotten it done in the same methodical fashion night after night. That off night didn't happen for 90 games, and even when it did in major fashion, the Huskies were right there, down six with 2 1/2 minutes left.

Drew Brees was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated. How inspiring it was when the New Orlean Saints rewarded their troubled city with a SuperBowl title last February. We take nothing away from Brees, though much of the work for that title was done in 2009. But nobody has ever had the year of Auriemma, whose team dominated the sport in 2010. Until Thursday night the Huskies -- minus the graduated Tina Charles, minus injured starter Caroline Doty, minus the player who was supposed to be carrying this team along with Maya Moore,  Elena Delle Donne, were untouchable.

More so, Auriemma is classy. Folks are taken aback by his honesty, which is so rare in just about any field these politically correct days. Auriemma says what's on his mind, and he's gracious. When the thing called The Streak ended on Thursday, the ESPN announcers didn't rush to Tara VanDerveer. They grabbed Auriemma immediately, and he was able to put into perspective just how remarkable the 90 straight wins were. He speaks eloquantly and effectively and is a refreshing change from an athletic world whose stars prefer cliches to candor.

I'm not a particularly big UConn fan or Auriemma apologist. I'm a sports follower, and I recognize when a person and an achievement merit a special commendation. This one is a no-brainer. Auriemma is Sportsman of the Year. By a landslide.

No comments:

Post a Comment