DENVER (AP) — The feud that once existed between Geno Auriemma and Pat Summitt is rapidly thawing.
The two Hall of Fame coaches were honored Sunday night at halftime of the Baylor-Stanford game along with all the other former U.S. Olympic women’s basketball coaches.
Auriemma, who will coach the Olympic team this summer in London, was the first one announced. Summitt was the final coach honored, drawing a long, loud standing ovation from the crowd.
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“I’m just so glad that the women got involved in the Olympics,” Summitt said in a statement provided by USA Basketball. “It meant the world to me to know there was a place to play after we played basketball in college. We could travel. We could compete. I just made some of the best friends — ever.
“I really appreciated walking in here and seeing this. It was touching for all of us. No doubt about it.”
Other Olympic coaches honored were Van Chancellor, Anne Donovan, Theresa Grentz, Nell Fortner and Billie Moore. Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, who started the United States’ current run of four straight gold medals, didn’t come out from the locker room at halftime. Late coaches Kay Yow and Sue Gunter also were announced, receiving loud ovations from the crowd.
Although Auriemma and Summitt didn’t interact on the court Sunday, they did spend some time together during Connecticut’s open practice Saturday at the women’s Final Four. The pair shared a big hug and chatted briefly.
Auriemma said they talked about Summitt’s foundation that supports Alzheimer’s research and education, and the health of the Tennessee coach.
“She pretty much expressed that she’s doing great and she feels good, that she’s under great care, that she’s being taken care of by the best people,” Auriemma said. “It was only a couple minutes, but I had told her that I’m sure that once the NCAA tournament is over, we’ll get a chance to talk a little bit more.”
The Huskies and Lady Volunteers stopped playing each other four seasons ago and neither coach has publically confirmed why.
Summitt announced in August that she is dealing with the effects of early-onset dementia from Alzheimer’s.