A few weeks back Geno Auriemma's comments from a year ago went viral. How they went viral now is a mystery, but why is obvious: the point the legendary Connecticut women's basketball head coach made was timeless.
"On our team, we put a huge premium on body language," he said. "And if your body language is bad, you will never get in the game. Ever. I don’t care how good you are. If somebody says, ‘You just benched (Breanna Stewart) 35 minutes in the Memphis game a couple years ago.’ Yeah I did. ‘Oh, that was to motivate her for the South Carolina game the following Monday.’ No, it wasn’t. Stewie was acting like a 12-year-old, so I put her on the bench and said, ‘Sit there.’ It doesn’t matter on our team."
This time around, Auriemma again made viral-worthy comments that could go viral well after he said them.
Asked about the original body language lecture at the Sweet 16 this year,
"Kids inherently want to be good teammates. I really believe that with all my heart. Most kid when they're on a team -- I guarantee you, go watch any 7-year-olds or 8-year-olds -- they want to be good teammates. When they get a little bit older and they start having more success and then the parents get involved they become not so great teammates because they're told a lot of times, 'You're not going to get anywhere unless you shine.'
"Back in the day we had AAU tournaments -- you had to win X number of games to qualify for the national championship, and you played on your team, you had to live in your state or your area to play. If you lost, you went home and it was devastating. Well, that's changed. Now when kids go to these tournaments they're not going there to win games. They're going there so that the coach can see them exhibit their skills. So this idea of winning for the weekend doesn't exist anymore.
"It's not their fault. It's just the way it is. I try, when we go recruiting, to identify those kids who still have tremendous interest in being great teammates. We're not always successful. Believe me, I've had my share of guys that were really hard to coach for that reason. And you can trace it back, generally, to the parents. Without question you can trace it back to the parents."
Like a fine wine, Auriemma's comments pair perfectly with Frank Martin's belief that kids haven't changed, adults have, and a study showing nearly two in five youth athletes don't want their parents at their games.