Geno Auriemma, UConn's winning women's basketball coach, got his start in Philly

The University of Connecticut's women's basketball team and its head coach Geno Auriemma just extended their record winning streak to 100 games Monday Night when they beat South Carolina.

It was a streak that began 821 days ago, on Nov. 17, 2014.

In his 31 years as head coach, Ariemma, 62, guided his team to 11 National Championships, 17 Final Four appearances, six perfect seasons (1995, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2016), and 43 conference titles, according to UConn athletics.

Auriemma's 31-year record stands at 955-134, with a winning percentage of .877 overall. He is only the fourth coach to eclipse the 900-win mark and reached that number in fewer games than any coach in the history of the game.

The Hall of Fame coach has plenty of ties to the Philadelphia area, where he and his family moved after immigrating to the United States.

Luigi (Geno) Auriemma was born in Montella, Italy, and moved to Norristown when he was seven years old, along with his parents, brother, and sister. Soccer, which no one played in his new neighborhood, took a backseat to baseball for Auriemma, according to GenoAuriemma.com.

He kept up the sport through his senior year at Bishop Kendrick High School, which later became Kennedy-Kenrick Catholic High School and closed in 2011. In his sophomore year, he began playing basketball under noted varsity coach Buddy Gardler. Auriemma credits Gardler as his inspiration to become a coach, according to the biography.

After graduation from high school in 1972, Auriemma attended Montgomery County Junior College. In 1977, he became an assistant coach at St. Joseph’s University. A year later he married his wife, Kathy.

Auriemma later transferred to West Chester University where he graduated in 1981 with a B.A. in political science. While he attended classes, he drove an hour to and from Bishop McDevitt High School to help coach the women’s team. At the same time, he built houses, bartended, and worked at a local grocery store to make ends meet.

Auriemma accepted a position at the University of Virginia after graduation. He stayed for four years before moving on to UConn where he and the team have wracked up a number of records.