Auriemma first to win back to back

Updated: April 5, 2009, 3:29 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

ST. LOUIS -- Geno Auriemma, two wins shy of leading Connecticut to its third unbeaten season, is The Associated Press' college basketball coach of the year for the sixth time.

Auriemma won the award last season and also in 1995, 1997, 2000 and 2003. It's the first time since the award started in 1995 that a coach has won in consecutive seasons.

"It never gets old," said Auriemma, who has guided the team to five national championships. "It's really a credit to the coaches and players that I work with. Having really good players makes me look good."

Always the perfectionist, Auriemma helped guide the Huskies to a 37-0 record. They play Stanford (33-4) on Sunday night in the national semifinals.

Whether playing a ranked opponent or a lower-level team, UConn always was at its best. No team was able to come within single digits of the Huskies all season, and they beat eight ranked opponents by an average of nearly 30 points a game.

"It's always coach," UConn sophomore star Maya Moore said. "He always has us ready to go and puts us in situations in practice that are harder than we would see in games."

Auburn's Nell Fortner was second with seven. Aaron Johnston, who led South Dakota State to the NCAA tournament in its first season that the Jackrabbits were eligible, finished third with five votes.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE