The Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma and athletic director David Benedict honored Chris Dailey, the “glue to the program,” at center court after she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame over the summer.
“[Dailey] is the most important person to our program,” senior forward Napheesa Collier said. “Coach [Auriemma] obviously, is amazing and no one can do what he does, but [Dailey] is really the glue that holds everyone in this whole program together.”
Dailey and Tennessee’s Mickie DeMoss are the only assistant coaches to be enshrined in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. After all, she came to UConn with Auriemma and has been a catalyst for the program’s 11 National Championships. But with Auriemma at the helm, she has often flown under the radar.
“I think she is a little underappreciated because no one really knows all the things she does for us,” Collier said. “UConn definitely would not be this legacy that it is, without her.”
Collier said that Dailey was one of the main reasons why she ended up choosing to play basketball at UConn. She said that Dailey was always happy to talk with her throughout the recruiting process.
“I just love how she’s so honest,” Collier said with a smile. “She will tell you when you’re doing good and she will tell you when you’re doing bad. You just know what you’re going to get with her.”
In 2002, ESPNU named Dailey as the No. 4 recruiter in all of collegiate athletics. The Huskies have had 36 players in the WNBA, with 17 currently on professional rosters. Most recently, Gabby Williams, Azura Stevens and Kia Nurse were all drafted in last season’s WNBA Draft.
Dailey came to the Huskies 34 seasons ago in 1985 and has had to step in as head coach twice: When Auriemma was suspended in 1989 and when his father died in 1997. In each of those seasons, Dailey’s teams have won Big East Tournament Championships.
Sophomore Megan Walker made strides during the offseason and has been plugged into the starting lineup. She finished the game against Ohio State with 15 points and six rebounds. Auriemma raved about the progressions she made and Walker said that Dailey has played a key role in helping her realize her potential.
“She is [Auriemma’s] right hand so every time we come out of the game, she is telling us what we need to do to improve,” Walker said.3
While Dailey points out to Walker what she needs to improve on, she is constantly telling her that she is capable of becoming a really special player for the Huskies. This has helped Walker gain the confidence she has in the early portion of the season.
“Just to have her presence around us is great,” Walker said. “She is a great role model to us and she is the glue to this program.”
Alongside Auriemma, the duo have a record of 1,028-136, reached 19 Final Fours and won 47-straight non-conference games.
“It’s amazing to see what [Dailey] has accomplished and I am sure that [being inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame] was one of her goals,” Walker said. “So, I am just so happy for her.”
Michael Logan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.