Monday, March 2, 2015

You know it's a big deal when Geno Auriemma shows up

I'd been planning all along to attend the press conference this afternoon at which Temple introduced former Connecticut assistant Tonya Cardoza as its new head women's basketball coach.

I figured there would be a decent crowd from the media,

You know it's a big deal when Geno Auriemma shows up

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New Temple women's basketball coach Tonya Cardoza and her old boss at Connecticut, Geno Auriemma. (Matt Rourke/AP)

I'd been planning all along to attend the press conference this afternoon at which Temple introduced former Connecticut assistant Tonya Cardoza as its new head women's basketball coach.

I figured there would be a decent crowd from the media, given the lack of anything else going on in the city today, and that there would be the usual large assortment of Temple coaches and administrators.

But I did not expect at all to see Cardoza's old boss, Geno Auriemma, standing about three feet from the main door into the Fox Gittis Room at the Liacouras Center.

Yet there he was, back for a day in the region where he grew up and the city in which he won a national championship eight years ago.

It's a meausre of how far the Owls program rose under Dawn Staley that Temple could reach into the upper echelon of women's teams for its new coach. So is the fact that Cardoza is the first head coach in the history of the women's Big 5 with no personal roots in the Philadelphia area.

But Cardoza made it pretty clear that she knows what she's getting into here. In addition to Auriemma being from Norristown, Cardoza played at Virginia with Staley and was coached by another Philadelphia-area native, Debbie Ryan.

Mel Greenberg has more details of what Cardoza had to say over on his blog, Women's Hoops Guru.

I was there primarily to record the press conference and do a few interviews afterwards, and unfortunately the press conference audio didn't come through right. But I do have interviews with Cardoza, Auriemma and Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw that you can listen to.

One thing worth mentioning on here from Cardoza's remarks during the press conference is that she considers herself an offensive coach first, and described Staley as a defensive coach.

As part of that, Cardoza said she wants to run a motion offense and push the tempo more often. Given how much Staley talked to John Chaney, I wonder if Cardoza and Fran Dunphy will share tips about running plays.



Temple AD Bill Bradshaw talks about Tonya Cardoza
Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma talks about Tonya Cardoza
Jonathan Tannenwald Sports Producer
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