Geno Auriemma is willing to work without pay for the greater good.
The University of Connecticut women’s basketball head coach offered to forgo his $2 million-plus salary next year in order to help offset proposed budget cuts the school faces, according to The Hartford Courant’s Jeff Jacobs. The budget the state legislature passed contains more than $300 million in cuts to UConn, and Auriemma, one of Connecticut’s top earners, might sacrifice to highlight an important point about collective responsibility.
“I’ll tell you what,” Auriemma said. “I’ll work for free next year. I’ll give up what the state pays me, what the taxpayers are paying me, but guess what? I pay my taxes and I don’t care how much money it costs for me to have good schools where I live in Manchester. My (adult) kids don’t go to school there. I can afford it. I want to be proud of our town’s education system. Why is it that older people turn their back on education when somebody paid for their kids when they were in school? We’ve lost sight of what we have to do for other people.”
Having coached UConn to 11 national titles, Auriemma is extending his leadership brand beyond the basketball court. Whether state lawmakers respond to his offer or other high earners follow his lead remains to be seen.
Nevertheless, governor Dannel Malloy has vowed to veto the budget, partly because of the UConn cuts. The fight over higher-education funding is underway, and no one should expect Auriemma to remain on the sidelines.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images