Geno Auriemma remains one pf UConn’s greatest champions. The internationally successful women’s basketball coach has always held the university’s best interests at heart and his response to the potential state budget cuts to the school are no different. His remarks are a reminder that UConn and the state are one and the same, and need to work together to find a solution.
In an interview with the Hartford Courant’s Jeff Jacobs, Auriemma mentioned that he would have no problem forgoing his salary for the next year or even leaving the university if it would help keep away some of the major cuts coming to the university. The UConn women’s basketball coach stressed how important having a highly ranked public flagship university is for the state of Connecticut. To Auriemma, UConn is not just a place for great basketball, but a place where great students can come to get an amazing education.
Auriemma’s offer is indeed admirable and a reminder to everyone why he is the one of the greatest people of all time. While it is very clear that forgoing Auriemma’s salary would be a drop in the bucket of all the money that UConn currently stands to lose, it is important that all Connecticut residents take his remarks to heart. Throughout the Courant story, Auriemma tells the story of university that has only become great because the state decided to invest in the school over the past 20 years.
It is naïve to say that UConn will not take any cuts with whatever budget ends up being signed by Governor Dan Malloy. The entire state is hurting and everyone is going to have to tighten their belt. It is important, however, for everyone to remember that UConn and Connecticut are one in the same. According to a tweet from UConn, for every dollar invested by the state, UConn generates $11.80. This is a number that nobody can ignore. UConn graduates go on to work at and start businesses that benefit the state as a whole. Both have invested in each other, and both have helped to make the other greater.
If UConn fails or diminishes in statue, so will Connecticut. That was the message that Geno was trying to give. One cannot be great without the other. It is imperative that everyone remembers that as we, as a Connecticut community, will move through these trying times together.