UConn's Geno Auriemma after reaching historic milestone: 'There isn’t a number that I’m searching for'

UConn’s win over Seton Hall on Wednesday wasn’t just a regular win. Yes, it continued the 11th-ranked Huskies’ run of dominance in the Big East – winning 21 consecutive conference games since last February and 12 straight to begin this season – and sure, it extended their current win streak to three games after falling to No. 12 Notre Dame in late January.

But for head coach Geno Auriemma, who has been at UConn for 39 years, it marked his 1,200th career win as he joins Mike Krzyzewski (1,202) and Tara VanDerveer (1,206) as the only coaches in Division I history to reach that mark. Not only that, but Auriemma has them both beat as the fastest coach to achieve that milestone (1,360 games).

With the Huskies having seven more regular season games scheduled before the Big East tournament and then the NCAA tournament, there’s every chance that Auriemma can pass both Krzyzewski and VanDerveer this season as the winningest coach in NCAA history.

However, when asked how many more games he thinks he can win or how much longer he can keep the ship going, Auriemma was thinking small-scale, not large-scale.

“I would think more along the lines of single digits, not hundreds. This isn’t a casino ATM where it just spits out hundreds,” he said.

It was an interesting answer from the 69-year-old who hasn’t won a national title since 2015-16. In fact, last season’s exit from the NCAA tournament in the sweet 16 was the quickest departure from an Auriemma-led UConn team since 2004-05.

But he explained himself.

“It’s been my philosophy since the beginning that there isn’t a number that I’m searching for, that I’m trying to reach,” he said. “There is no whale that I’m chasing and obsessed over. When it’s over, it’s over and whatever the number is at that time, that’s what the number is gonna be. If it’s a lot, it’s a lot, if it’s where it is right now it’s still a lot.”

Auriemma continued: “I can probably say, with a great deal of certainty, that I’ll never be number one in wins. No, I don’t think that would happen. And I’m still gonna enjoy my wine and sleep good tonight.”

What that means exactly for Auriemma’s future remains to be seen. However, right now his and the Huskies’ immediate future is a date with top-ranked South Carolina on Sunday, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m.

Auriemma previewed the matchup after Wednesday’s game and spoke about the rivalry that has been born between the two teams.

“This is a relatively young rivalry that we have with South Carolina and in the beginning, we’d go down there and blow them out and it wasn’t a rivalry. It was nothing. Then it became one because both people have to win in order for it to be a rivalry and you start to appreciate that when you have the best team, you can go down there – and not just there, anywhere really – and play a team of that magnitude and know you’re going to win.

“And then there’s some years you know that it’s gonna be a titanic struggle and the chances of winning are not as great as when you think you have the best team in the country. So everything is in perspective going down to play. I think we know what we’re up against, we know who they are and what they can do and what they’ve done and I know our guys are excited to go down and play, for sure.”