Let the “Jen will succeed Geno” rumor mill begin. Again.
A month ago, UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma signed a new $10.86 million contract, a deal designed to keep him at the university through the 2017-18 season.
"This is just a unique place and a unique situation," Auriemma reportedly said at the time. "I'm fortunate that I'm here and that I've been here at the perfect time and the perfect place."
Speaking of timing, the University of Hartford has now announced that women's basketball coach Jennifer Rizzotti has agreed to a contract extension, which will run - you guessed it - through the 2017-18 women's basketball season.
Rizzotti, 38, first signed with Hartford in September of 1999 and has since led the Hawks to six NCAA Tournament appearances and the program's first win in the NCAA Tournament. Her previous contract was to last through the 2013-14 season and will now be folded into the new contract, the university said. The terms of the new extension were not disclosed.
Auriemma, the 59-year-old Hall of Famer, has coached at UConn since 1985. He will make $1.95 million in salary, speaking fees and media fees in the next year, according to the Associated Press. That will gradually increase to $2.4 million in the final year of the five-year contract. The Huskies have played in 14 Finals Fours under Auriemma, including the last five, winning the National Championship for a record-tying eighth time earlier this month.
Rizzotti was one of the most highly recognized UConn stand-outs at the start of the Husky dynasty, and went on to a successful pro career before settling in at Hartford. In recent years, the Hawks and Huskies have squared off in early season match-ups, first at the XL Center and last year at the Hartford campus. With each match-up, the questions about Rizzotti’s future and Auriemma’s successor are rekindled.
UConn announced that Auriemma will receive a base salary of $400,000 for each year on the contract, which runs from April 15 to April 14 of each year. In 2013-14, he will receive $1,550,000 for institutional speaking engagements and media related appearances for a total of $1,950,000. The payment for institutional speaking engagements will increase by $110,000 each year, except in the final year when it will increase by $120,000. Auriemma's total compensation for each year of the contract will be: 2013-14-$1,950,000; 2014-15-$2,060,000; 2015-16-$2,170,000; 2016-17-$2,280,000; 2017-18-$2,400,000.
A three-time America East Coach of the Year, Rizzotti has amassed a school-record 276 wins, which is the most among all current and former America East coaches. Her five America East Conference Championships and 23 league tournament victories are the most in the history of the conference. This June, Rizzotti will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, one of six members of the Class of 2013. Rizzotti has also amassed a 13-1 record as a USA Basketball Head Coach, leading the United States to Gold Medals at the 2011 U-19 FIBA Championships and the 2010 U-18 FIBA Americas.
Photo Credit: Geoff Bolte / Southcreek Global