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Geno Auriemma: “I’ve never felt anything like I’m seeing and feeling in today’s world”

The Huskies’ head coach spoke passionately about the importance of voting and the global political climate.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

For the first times in their lives, Christyn Williams and Paige Bueckers can vote in a presidential election. At Big East Media Day on Thursday, they both shared how they feel connected to the cause of voting, having already sent in their absentee ballots.

For Williams, she wanted to continue a legacy that her grandmother built.

“My grandmother went doorstep to doorstep to try to get people to vote back in the day,” Williams said. “So, I feel like it’s my duty to vote. That’s very important to me.”

As for Bueckers, she has been using her sizable social media platform to encourage her followers to vote. However, she felt that her message would’ve fallen flat if she didn’t fill out a ballot herself.

“I can’t ask other people to do it if I don’t do it myself,” she said. “So, getting out there and voting was really big for me and we can talk about change all we want but until we take steps towards action, it’s not gonna mean anything so it was really big for all of us to use our voice and vote.”

With the NCAA granting all Division I athletes the day off on Election Day, UConn will congregate as a team at Geno Auriemma’s house for dinner on Tuesday night. Though it’s a common enough occurrence for the coach to host his players — one that hasn’t happened yet this year because of the pandemic —this won’t be just another meal.

Auriemma wants to use Election Night as an opportunity to show his players what it means to vote and “experience what it feels like to have any investment.”

“They’ve invested a part of themselves in this election,” he said. “(I want them) to not just wake up the next morning and go ‘I wonder who won?’...For a lot of people this year, this [election] is more emotional. This one is fraught with a tremendous amount of intensity, anxiety. There’s a lot of anger on both sides. There’s a lot of mistrust. There’s a lot out there that generally isn’t attached to elections but this has them all and they’ve all invested a piece of themselves into this and I want them to experience that feeling, what it feels like when you give yourself to something.”

Auriemma then explained why the current political climate in the United States is what’s given him “the most anger I’ve ever felt in my life,” and railed against people who pretend to care about an issue but don’t take action when it matters on Election Day.