UConn coach opening eatery in Mohegan Sun

Updated: June 9, 2005, 9:08 AM ET
Associated Press

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma is opening a restaurant inside the Mohegan Sun casino.

The move, announced by Auriemma on Wednesday, is being discouraged by the NCAA, which doesn't like the idea of a coach being linked to a gambling establishment. It also comes amid growing scrutiny in Connecticut of coaches entering outside contracts.

"Geno Auriemma's Fast Break," a 300-seat, food-court style establishment, is scheduled to open at the Indian casino next year. It would be Auriemma's first restaurant, but he said he's also considering opening an eatery in Hartford and would consider further expansion if this venture is successful.

"It's an unbelievable moment right now for a lot of people," Auriemma said. "This is just the beginning of what I think will be a special relationship."

The restaurant will feature a basketball-themed marketplace with five eateries, including Italian, Mexican and American offerings. It also will sell Auriemma's name-brand Italian pastas and sauces.

"We will have some Duke graduates working at tables," Auriemma said jokingly.

There is no sports book at the casino, which has a sports arena that serves as home to the WNBA's Connecticut Sun. Auriemma said he did not believe his restaurant being in a casino would encourage students to gamble.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press