“One time is enough” for Auriemma

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It was just his first Olympics as head coach, but after leading the U.S. women’s basketball team to their fifth straight gold medal, Geno Auriemma is taking his ball and going home.

The UConn coach didn’t seem to have much fun at the Olympics, telling the Hartford Courant Thursday that “one time is enough” for him after he realized his job in London mostly consisted of putting talented players on the court and getting out of the way.

“That’s the big fallacy about the Olympics,” Auriemma said. “I wouldn’t call what I did coaching. A lot of the players weren’t interested in learning anything; they just wanted to play.”

The always candid Auriemma said he didn’t have enough time with the players, including his former UConn stars Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Swin Cash, and Maya Moore, who were playing WNBA games right up until the Olympics. He added that there were things he quickly learned “I simply needed to put up with.”

Auriemma also served as an assistant during the 2000 Olympics and as head coach for the 2010 world championships, but barring any significant changes in attitude it doesn’t like he’ll sign up for another go round with Team USA. Luckily he’ll have plenty of college kids to teach when his new season starts Sunday.

As for a replacement, our vote goes to Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw, who’s coming off back-to-back Final Fours, has beat Auriemma in four of five match-ups, and has the best name in all of sports.

Laurie Hernandez eyes return to competition in 2018

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NEW YORK – Laurie Hernandez hardly considers her 14 months away from competitive gymnastics a break.

Since earning Olympic team gold and balance beam silver in Rio, the 17-year-old won “Dancing with the Stars,” authored a book and even enrolled in ballet lessons.

But her most rewarding experience has been speaking at schools. Students have asked her seemingly every question, from when she started taking gymnastics classes (age 5) to whether she climbed trees when she was younger (yes, all the time).

Seeing how many children were inspired by her Rio performance motivated Hernandez as she prepares to return to the sport.

“I didn’t realize at the Olympics how many people were truly watching,” Hernandez said Wednesday night at the annual Women’s Sports Foundation Salute to Women in Sports. “Now I’m excited to get back into the gym.”

Hernandez recently added handstand holds, back tucks and front flips to her conditioning program, in addition to continuing to run and lift weights.

“It’s a little difficult, but it’s fine,” she said. “I’ll push it a little more after the holidays.”

She has her eye on returning to competition in 2018.

“That’s definitely the hope,” Hernandez said. “I’m not going to rush anything, but I would love to compete in 2018.”

Hernandez, who said her next goal in gymnastics is to compete at the world championships for the first time and hopefully the 2020 Olympics, has not yet identified her comeback meet.

She noted that Aly Raisman took more than two years off after the London Olympics.

“I know every athlete is different,” Hernandez said. “But I wouldn’t mind following in her footsteps.”

Simone Biles, who has not competed since winning four gold medals in Rio, recently announced that she plans on returning to full-time training Nov. 1 and competition next summer.

“I look up to her, even though we are teammates,” Hernandez said. “I can’t wait to see her out there, but hopefully I’ll be out there with her soon.”

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Olympic cycling champion running for Congress

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Olympic cycling gold medalist Marty Nothstein is the latest to announce he’s running for the eastern Pennsylvania congressional seat being vacated by fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Dent.

Dent, a former state senator, is a centrist Republican who has held the seat since 2005. He’s retiring after his term expires next year.

Nothstein, who won sprint silver in 1996 and gold in 2000, is the only American track cyclist to win an Olympic title at a fully attended Games.

Two Republican state representatives, Ryan Mackenzie and Justin Simmons, previously announced they’re running for Dent’s 15th District seat.

Democrat Bill Leiner, a former Lehigh County commissioner, is also running.

Dent’s district includes Allentown and all of Lehigh County, and parts of four surrounding counties.

Republicans in 2011 stretched the district almost 90 miles to the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania to make it more Republican.

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