Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma is out of quarantine after his positive COVID-19 test and is rejoining the team in San Antonio for the remainder of the NCAA Women’s Tournament.
Auriemma, who received his second vaccination on March 10, missed wins over High Point and Syracuse while in self-isolation in Connecticut. He is slated to be on the sidelines for the top-seeded Huskies’ Sweet 16 game against No. 5 seed Iowa this weekend.
The victory over Syracuse on Tuesday also fell on Auriemma’s 67th birthday so freshman star Paige Bueckers had a message for the Hall of Fame coach in the postgame press conference.
“Happy birthday Coach, if you’re watching. Get your butt here tomorrow,” Bueckers said. “We’re excited to see you.”
Assistant coach Chris Dailey has been on the staff with Auriemma since 1985. The two wins leave her with a 12-0 career mark when filling in for Auriemma.
“This was a tough game because I didn’t want to be in a position where I cost our players an opportunity to keep playing,” Dailey said after UConn improved to 26-1. “And he was actually really calming when I was talking to him. I think we were both anxious and I know everybody is going to be really happy to have him here tomorrow.”
Dailey then provided a lighter moment.
“I say that now, but he gets here at noon I think. At 5, I might regret saying that,” Dailey said with a laugh. “But right now I’m looking forward to having him here.”
Connecticut is pursuing its 12th national championship during Auriemma’s 36-season tenure. He has a record of 1,115-143 and has the second most victories behind Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)