In the cutthroat world of competitive sports, it helps to have a big personality. You have to be strong, confident, and maybe a little larger than life. Thatís even become true of college sports, and one of the largest personalities is University of Connecticut womenís basketball coach Geno Auriemma.
Bombastic and tough, the coach is known for riding his teams to perform better. His tactics have polarized fans, who either love or hate him. Why does he act the way he does? Well, because heís a perfectionist, he argues in his new memoir, Geno: In Pursuit of Perfection.
The book charts his rise from Italian immigrant to one of the premier womenís basketball coaches in the nation. He chronicles almost every season and, refreshingly, pulls few punches. Yes, he
is tough, he explains. Yes, he has made girls cry. Yes, he has made some enemies. But it
has all been in the pursuit of the best team possible.
And, in his defense, it makes for a good brisk read. To his credit, Auriemma doesnít really apologize for his behavior, or make excuses. He just explains things from his point of view. And while you still donít want to hug him or anything, you do come to have an understanding of this complicated guy.
Love him or hate him, this is a guy who works hard and takes his job seriously. I believe he truly respects his teams, even when he
is driving his players crazy - plus his outsize personality gives him a unique voice that makes the book fun to read.
It is entertaining even to those who donít follow womenís college basketball, myself included. Will it convert non-fans? Probably not. But it does entertain, educate, and offer insight into one of the biggest personalities in sports.