UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma has tested positive for COVID-19, the school announced late Monday afternoon. He is exhibiting no symptoms and is currently isolating in his home.
Per a UConn release, contact tracing revealed that Auriemma “did not have close contact with any team member since Friday, March 12,” and that all Tier 1 personnel have since tested negative for COVID-19 since daily testing commenced on March 9.
“After we received notification of the positive test result yesterday, we initiated contact tracing protocols, which included interviewing individual members of the basketball program and in-depth video analysis of practice,” director of sports medicine and head team physician Deena Casiero said. “Only household close contacts were identified. Given the fact that we have been doing daily testing for the past seven days, we feel confident that we were able to catch this very early on in the disease process.”
Auriemma received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on March 10, but remains nine days out of being fully vaccinated, per CDC guidelines. The team is scheduled to leave for Texas Tuesday, with Auriemma unavailable to return to action until March 24.
“I’m feeling well but disappointed that I will be away from the team for the next several days,” Auriemma said. “Fortunately, I have a great coaching staff who will lead us during my absence. This revelation is a reminder that, while there is a light at the end of the tunnel, we are not on the other side of this pandemic yet. The full effect of vaccines does not occur until 14 days after our last vaccine dose, and for those of us getting two-dose vaccine, that means we’re not in the clear after just one-dose. My team and I need to remain vigilant in the areas of mask-wearing and social distancing as we continue this fight against COVID.”
In Auriemma’s absence, it will be assistant head coach Chris Dailey taking the reins. Dailey boasts a 10-0 record while acting as head coach, including a few postseason wins, and will look to continue her success with the Huskies set to play two games before Auriemma’s return.
“I have complete confidence and faith in CD, Shae and Jamelle,” Auriemma said to the media Monday night. “I’m an innocent bystander right now so I’m just gonna sit back and watch them do their thing. CD is undefeated in tournament play so I don’t think you can get a coach that has a better record in the tournament than she does.”
Players were disheartened to hear the news of Auriemma’s positive test, but know they have the resilience to win while he recovers.
“It’s very unfortunate what happened, but nothing really changes,” Evina Westbrook said Monday night. “It’s definitely gonna feel different without him but, especially for me being an older guy, making sure that nothing changes [is important]. He trusts us and we’ve talked to him so we’re just excited to still get down there.”
This story was updated at 10 p.m. on March 15, 2021 with further information.