This afternoon in Tampa, Fla., site of the NCAA Women’s Final Four, ESPN Monday Night Football analyst and Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden interviewed with UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma, who is vying for his 10th NCAA Championship.
The conversation between the two coaching legends will debut today on the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter and air throughout ESPN’s coverage of the Women’s Final Four.
Vice President of Production and Multimedia Integration, Tina Thornton, discusses how the opportunity came about: “After last year’s Final Four, MNF producer Jay Rothman reminded me Gruden lived in Tampa and that he may be someone to include in our coverage in 2015 if there was the right opportunity.
“I thought it would be interesting to get these unique personalities together to talk coaching. It didn’t come up again until last week during the Regionals when we knew UConn would advance. That’s when we started putting the pieces together.”
“I hadn’t met Geno until today but I’m a huge fan of him and what he has accomplished,” added Gruden. “I’m interested in coaching and what leads to coaching success. He’s been able to dominate and sustain success for a very long time.
– Jon Gruden on UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma
“I was particularly interested in hearing how he’s been able to adapt through the years. The NCAA has different rules now than they did 20 years ago. The game is different and the kids are different than they were five, 10, 20 years ago. He’s had to adapt to a lot of different things and he’s still at the top of his game. It’s great to have the opportunity to sit and learn some stuff from him.”
“Getting two championship coaches together to talk about their craft is compelling to our audience,” said Dave Miller, senior coordinating producer. “Leadership, preparation, team-building and motivation are all topics we hope to learn more about.”
Editor’s Note: All four top seeds have advanced to the Women’s Final Four at Amalie Arena in Tampa. The semifinals air Sunday, April 5, on ESPN and WatchESPN, beginning with South Carolina vs. Notre Dame at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by Maryland against UConn at 8:30 p.m. Play culminates with the NCAA Women’s National Championship game on Tuesday, April 7, at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN and WatchESPN.
Bill Hofheimer contributed to this post.