After all of the wins he's racked up as the head coach of the University of Connecticut, all of the national championships, all of the Big East titles –all of it — maybe he's earned the right to say whatever the hell he wants.
But you know who's made it possible for him to truly earn that privilege? The UConn fans.
That's why Auriemma needs a timeout and an ensuing apology to the Huskie faithful following his latest rant.
Auriemma, who was mad because only 6,000 people showed up to watch his UConn team pummel Purdue 64-40 in an NCAA tournament game in Storrs, let the people who have supported him for so long know about it. He went as far as to call them "spoiled."
Auriemma joked the team needed to win more games, before sarcastically quipping "Maybe we should offer free parking, more giveaways. We should let some of the fans coach the team, maybe a guest coach every quarter."
He then went on to say that UConn may not bid on the opportunity to host first- and second-round games at Gampel Pavilion.
How does the old saying go? Don't bite the hand that feeds you?
It's easy to see why Auriemma is a little bit salty about having a "lackluster" attendance. It's important to put quotation marks around lackluster because there are a ton of women's programs across the country that would kill for 6,000 to be insulting. And if you don't think Auriemma wasn't legitimately insulted by that turnout, you have to see the video for yourself. He ain't happy.
Auriemma has done a ton of things for that program. UConn basketball is where it is today thanks in large part to Geno Auriemma. What Auriemma seems to have temporarily forgotten, however, is that just as much, if not more of the credit belongs to the fans who come out to every game.
If you're from anywhere near Storrs or the state of Connecticut, you know how much college basketball means to the Nutmeg State. Doesn't matter if it's men's or women's, if it's UConn basketball, people go nuts for it.
And for the most part, those people show it by showing up to games, so you'll have to excuse them if attendance slides a little. But then, you look at the attendance numbers for the last few games of the regular season in Storrs.
On Feb. 28, the Huskies pulled out an 82-47 squeaker over Syracuse. The attendance? 10,167. Shockingly, the same exact amount of people showed up for a game on Feb. 19 against Notre Dame.
Add it up, and those sound like sellouts, right? This, from the UConn athletics facility website on Gampel Pavilion:
"The new 'sellout' for Connecticut Basketball in Storrs is 10,027, making the UConn facility the largest capacity on- campus basketball arena in New England and the Northeast."
So UConn tickets are so tough to get that they fit more people in than the stated capacity? Maybe they should move the games elsewhere to accommodate more people. Oh wait, they do. The Huskies played six regular-season games at the XL Center in Hartford this season. While they didn't sell all of them out (the nerve!), they routinely drew 10-14,000 people, including one sellout and perhaps more impressively drawing over 7,000 people for a 100-49 exhibition beatdown of Indiana University (Pa.).
That should be enough to be able to avoid snide remarks about "only" 6,000 people showing up to a game, but it isn't.
As "spoiled" as fans of the UConn program may be, the one who is really spoiled is Auriemma.
Fortunately for Geno, Huskies fans will probably brush this aside, and not think too much of it because they're loyal like that. Auriemma should think twice about that loyalty next time before he calls out his fan base again.
Geno Auriemma wouldn't be where he is today without the help of UConn fans. All 6,000 of them and then some.
Is Geno Auriemma wrong for calling out his fans like he did? Share your thoughts below. NESN's college basketball coverage is presented by Bodog.net.
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