First-year ESPN women’s basketball analyst Sue Bird learned a lot about basketball and life at the University of Connecticut (1998-2002) while under the tutelage of women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma.
Tonight at 10 p.m. ET following the Big Monday matchup between No. 1 South Carolina and No. 2 Connecticut, ESPN2 will air the second installment of espnW Presents: The Geno Auriemma Project.
The episode, titled “The Program,” will take a look at how the intense Auriemma runs the powerhouse Huskies. Front Row caught up with Bird – a longtime WNBA and U.S. Olympics team star – to discuss how Auriemma’s program prepared her for the next phase in her career.
– Sue Bird, ESPN analyst and former UConn guard, on what she’s learned from Geno Auriemma
What did you learn from Auriemma at UConn that’s helped you in your dealings with the media as an interview subject and as an ESPN game analyst?
The one thing coach always does is be himself. He has personality and doesn’t always take himself, or things, too seriously. But as we know, he also has strong opinions on many issues as well. I’ve seen him balance all of this through the years and I just try to have the same balance in my own way.
You had an on-camera interview with Auriemma after a game on Jan. 18. How comfortable were you doing that interview?
I was very comfortable. The longer I’ve known Coach Auriemma, the more we go back-and-forth and bust each other’s chops, so I knew it was a good opportunity to have some fun on camera.
Have you learned anything from fellow Connecticut alum and ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo that’s helped in your transition to TV?
There isn’t just one thing that I’ve learned because I’m still learning from Rebecca. She is the one person who I go to when I have questions and whose critique I truly trust. I hope that relationship continues to grow because she’s clearly made the transition look so smooth for herself.
Tara Chozet contributed to this post.