Geno Auriemma joined an elite group of college basketball coaches on Wednesday night.
The longtime UConn women's basketball coach earned her 1,200th career victory after the Huskies' 67-34 victory over Seton Hall. He is now only the third men's or women's coach in history to reach the 1,200-win mark. Only former Duke men's coach Mike Krzyzewski and current Stanford women's coach Tara VanDerveer have reached that milestone. Auriyamma also reaches there with great speed.
Krzyzewski won 1,202 games before retiring, making him the winningest men's Division I coach in history. VanDerveer surpassed Krzyzewski for his 1,203rd win last month. On the women's side, Auriemma and Van der Veer are the only two players close to the 1,200-hit mark. Iowa coach Lisa Bluder is the next Division I women's coach with 871 career wins. Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis is the closest active coach on the men's side. He has 831 career hits.
Auriemma, 69, is now in his 39th season with the Huskies. He first landed at UConn in 1985, and he quickly turned them into a powerhouse in women's basketball. He has won 11 championships there, reached the Final Four 22 times and missed the NCAA Tournament just three times. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
In Wednesday night's win over the Pirates, No. 11 UConn has no problem. They held them in single digits in all but one quarter and led from start to finish. Aaliyah Edwards led the way with 18 points and 15 rebounds, and Ashlyn Shade dropped 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting from behind. Seton Hall shot 22% from the field as a team, didn't have a player hit in double figures and went just 2-for-23 from behind the arc.
The win moved UConn to 20-4 on the season. Next Sunday they will travel to No. 1 South Carolina.
Auriemma is sure to pass Krzyzewski in the very near future, which would put him in a tight race with Van der Veer for the all-time mark through the rest of their careers. As of Wednesday night, VanderVeer had won 1,206 games during his tenure as a head coach. To Auriemma's credit, he's both 1,200 wins shorter than Van der Veer, and he's lost 100 fewer games than he has in his career.
Regardless, Auriemma has already cemented himself as one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time. Now he has reached another milestone to prove it.