Coaches Staying In Storrs For A Good While

A lot of programs look for stability. Rarely do both basketball programs at one school see it. Connecticut is that <I>exception</I>. Which makes a lot of sense since both are NCAA defending champions. Friday the school announced that the contracts of men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun and women's basketball coach Gene Auriemma have been extended.

Calhoun gets a little edge as his contract was extended six years through 2010; Geno's contract was lengthened five years through 2009. Calhoun will pick up $1.2 million in the first year while Auriemma will initially earn $825,000.

The men's squad, who are 9-2 this season, is ranked no. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today poll and 12th in the Assocated Press ranking, host Big East foe Rutgers on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Hartford Civic Center.

Calhoun is currently in his 19th season at Connecticut. He led the Huskies to the NCAA Division I Championship in both 1999 and 2004. Calhoun currently ranks eighth in career wins among all active NCAA coaches with 689 -- 441 of them coming during his tenure at Connecticut. He led UConn to appearances in the NCAA Tournament on 12 occasions, including two trips to the Final Four, six Elite Eight Appearances and 10 Sweet 16 tournaments. He also led UConn to the championship of the 1988 National Invitation Tournament. Calhoun is one of three active coaches to have multiple NCAA Division I national championships.

Calhoun's led his Husky teams to an overall record of 32-9 in the NCAAs and has a career record of 44-13 in national postseason play at UConn. He was a 2004 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame finalist.

"I am very happy that the University is allowing me the opportunity to do what I hope to do, and that is end my career here at UConn, whenever that time may be," says Calhoun. "It especially pleases me to know that the University has now put me financially in the same class as the other outstanding men's basketball coaches in America. And, importantly, this commitment allows me and my staff to continue our pursuit of another championship with a renewed show of support from the University."

The women's team is 8-4 this season and ranked no. 16 in the Associated Press poll. The ladies host league opponent Villanova Sat. Jan. 15th at 7:00 p.m. at the Gampel Pavilion.

Auriemma is currently in his 20th season at Connecticut and has led the Huskies to five NCAA Division I Championships in 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004. He also coached the Huskies to eight NCAA Final Four appearances and 14 Big East Conference regular season championships. UConn has played in the NCAA tournament every year since 1989. He currently has 541 career coaching wins -- all at Connecticut -- and has a winning percentage of .835, which places him among the all-time active leaders.

Auriemma led UConn to an incredible NCAA Division I record 70-game winning streak from 2001-2003. He has helped produce six National Players of the Year and eight Olympians.

"I am very glad we were able to do this and I want to thank (President) Phil Austin and (Director of Athletics) Jeff Hathaway for all their support," said Auriemma. "I want to thank the people of Connecticut who have been so supportive of me and our program for the past 20 years. This new contract is a reflection of the University's commitment to me and my commitment to the University ."


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