Greetings Husky Fans !! This is the first of many entries you'll be seeing as I begin my new venture with iHeart Radio and the new radio home for the Huskies, 97.9 ESPN here in Hartford..
The first week on the job was a busy one, having emceed three of the four events on the UConn Coach's Road Show. Where many of the UConn Coaches, not just the big names you're used to seeing and hearing, were in attendance..Especially at the Glastonbury Event last Monday.
Some highlights from the event. Nancy Stevens and her Field Hockey Team is a hidden gem in CT. Five consecutive Final Fours, Three ending in National Championships and the National Scholar Athlete of the Year in that sport in Goal Keeper Nina Klein. Who by the way, had 11 shutouts and a 0.87 goals against average in a perfect 23-0 season. Nancy made it a point to get this across...This athlete didn't go to Duke, Stanford or Princeton...She goes to UCONN !!
Of course Jim Penders' Baseball Team made it back to the NCAA's after a four year absence. Losing to Washington in the Regional Finals at Coastal Carolina (Washington is a CWS Team BTW) What Coach Penders gets out of his program each and every year is remarkable. A lot of road games with some interesting travel stories and less than appealing facilities to start with. But he gets blue collar kids, mostly from the Northeast and they just grind it out each and every year. NOTE: Check out uconnhuskies.com and click on baseball to see the plans for the new baseball/soccer/softball facilities...
Dan Hurley IS blue collar in every way. Buy all accounts this week, his hire is a popular choice to return the Men's Basketball Team to a championship caliber program. It starts with getting tougher on defense and rebounding. Convincing 10 returning players to change their ways has already begun.
Randy Edsall is "Old School" as they come in...BUT, he hates that term with a passion. Why ?? He'd rather be known as a coach that does things the RIGHT WAY. How athletes become disciplined not only in balancing school and football, but in life in general. In attending the Andy Baylock Open, in honor of the longtime baseball coach and now the Football Alumni Director, many a player who played for Coach Edsall all say the same thing..Randy prepared them for life after football..The way he and his staffs have developed talent over the years is one thing. But the fact that these young men are prepared for life after football is far more important.
Then there is Geno Auriemma...Geno is Geno !! Yes, he talked a state trooper out of a traffic ticket for the bus driver who took the Coaches to NYC..But he is such an ambassador for the school as well. On Monday, he closed the night in tremendous fashion. Every coach talked about their passion for their teams and their players. How proud they are of their team's success and individual accomplishments on and off the field..And while UConn prides itself in the people they have in Storrs (Coaches and Athletes) Imagine how much better things would be for those people with the best facilities for every team that other programs have. (Not just baseball, softball and soccer..But yes, Hockey needs a new home..On campus.)
It was a great week and I hope if you were lucky enough to attend, had a great time ! I expect this event to expand and visit different areas next year for sure...Thanks to AD David Benedict, Sports Marketing and our PD Ben Darnell for allowing me to emcee these stops on the tour...Off to the Travelers next week !!