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Auriemma almost left UConn to coach men; reveals ‘biggest disappointment’

Kentucky head coach John Calipari interviewed UConn head coach Geno Auriemma on his podcast, Cal Cast. And they talked about a plethora of things.

NCAA Womens Basketball: East Carolina at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

In a very in-depth podcast with Kentucky head coach John Calipari, UConn head coach Geno Auriemma talked about an array of topics, from interviewing — and getting turned down — at DePaul, the sustained excellence of the Huskies and why women’s basketball players shouldn’t turn pro, and how he almost left to coach men.

Here’s some snippets from the podcast:

The DePaul stuff:

"I actually interviewed at DePaul and I thought I was going to get the job. And how about this? This was the biggest disappointment of my life. I interviewed at DePaul. Jean Lenti Ponsetto, who is still there, was going to be the person making the decisions. She was going to hire me. She was the one that made me apply. A person on the committee - a good Catholic school boy like me all my life - I got shot down by a nun. A nun said, 'Nah, he's not the right guy.' I said, 'You've got to be kidding me, right?'“

On how he would handle players turning pro early in the women's game:

"Here's the thing we've got going for us: Really, you want to give up on college for $50,000 a year in the WNBA and then a couple hundred thousand overseas? Diana Taurasi stayed here four years. She won three national championships. Then she went to the WNBA, rookie of the year. Then she made the Olympic team, blah, blah, blah. Now she makes $2 million a year overseas. Well guess what? There's only one of her. So if there were 25 of her, then guys would leave, but there's no reason to leave (in our game)."

On almost leaving UConn:

“Two things came up for me, and I think maybe I’m at an age at an age now where I might not do it. But there was a time, 10 years ago or maybe it was a little bit earlier than that, 15 years ago, 12, 13 years ago maybe, where I had until midnight to make a decision.

And I made the decision, and at the last minute my daughter especially talked me out of it. And I don’t know why, it was just a family thing.

But I was ready. I was ready to go from here to go coach a men’s team. I knew what my staff was going to be, I knew exactly what it was going to look like. It was something that I wanted to do.”