Morning sports update: Geno Auriemma says college coaches are ‘afraid of their players’

"Yet the players get off scot-free in everything. They can do whatever they want."

Geno Auriemma
Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma during the NCAA Tournament in 2018. –AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

The Red Sox lost 1-0 to the Athletics on Tuesday night. Chris Sale pitched six innings, allowing just a solo home run to Matt Chapman.

The Bruins clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a 6-2 win over the Blue Jackets.

Geno Auriemma’s take: University of Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma weighed in on the current relationship between college coaches and players.

“The majority of coaches in America are afraid of their players,” Auriemma told ESPN. “The NCAA, the athletic directors and society has made them afraid of their players. Every article you read: ‘This guy’s a bully. This woman’s a bully. This guy went over the line. This woman was inappropriate.'”

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“Yet the players get off scot-free in everything,” Auriemma continued. “They can do whatever they want. They don’t like something you say to them, they transfer. Coaches, they have to coach with one hand behind their back. Why? Because some people have abused the role of a coach.”

Auriemma’s comments come after Michigan State men’s coach Tom Izzo was criticized for an in-game outburst at one of his players during a tournament game.

“People gave Tom Izzo a lot of grief for something he did on the sideline,” said Auriemma. “His players loved that. He doesn’t have to care what you think of it. He just has to care what his players think of it. If his players all transferred, if his players all quit on him, then he went over the line. If his players play really hard for him, they keep winning, they love him, they keep coming back to the program, then that’s passion.”

Trivia: The Red Sox are 1-5 so far in 2019. What was the last reigning World Series champion to start 1-5? (Answer at the bottom).

Hint: The team traded for a Hall of Fame catcher on May 14 of that season, only to trade him away on May 22.

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More from Boston.com:

Right now nothing’s going our way’: After another loss sent the defending champions to a 1-5 start, Red Sox manager Alex Cora admitted that, “Right now, nothing’s going our way.” The current state of the team was summarized by Xander Bogaerts getting thrown out for the second night in a row by Athletics outfielder Ramón Laureano.

“I’m like, ‘There’s no way he’ll do that again,’” Bogaerts told the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham. “I didn’t see the replay. But once I dove into third, I felt Chapman hit me before I got to the bag. I knew I was out. How can he do that two nights in a row? The next time I won’t run.”

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Bryce Harper had a bat flip worthy of his return to Washington:

Russell Westbrook’s big night came with a dedication: Russell Westbrook became only the second player in NBA history to record a 20-20-20 night in the box score (in points, assists and rebounds) after Wilt Chamberlain. He dedicated his performance to rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was recently killed in a shooting in Los Angeles.

Danny Ainge would know:

Former Patriot Aqib Talib wants a piece of the baseball money:

Tom Brady responded to the tweet on Wednesday morning.

Update: Still a lot of snow in Tuckerman Ravine on Mount Washington:

On this day: In 1987, the Chicago Cubs dealt pitcher Dennis Eckersley to the Oakland Athletics along with infielder Dan Rohn in exchange for three minor leaguers. The deal appeared inconsequential at the time, warranting only a secondary mention in the Globe’s baseball roundup column.

Eckersley, who won 20 games for the Red Sox in 1978, had become inconsistent (going 6-11 with a 4.57 ERA in 1986). And at 32, his best years as a pitcher were considered to be behind him. What wasn’t known at the time was Eckersley’s struggles with being an alcoholic. In January of 1987, he checked into rehab in Newport, Rhode Island. It proved to be the first step in a historic comeback.

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“I’ve been carrying this thing inside me for so long, I’m actually happy it’s coming out,” Eckersley would tell Sports Illustrated a year later in 1988. “I’d like to help other people who have this disease, but I’m still in the early stages of sobriety, and until now. I haven’t been ready. I’m lucky my whole life didn’t get torn apart. I could have lost my wife, my career, everything. Instead, I finally started growing up.”

In Oakland, Eckersley discovered the incredible second act of his career as a closer. Under manager Tony La Russa, the Athletics – who had slipped into mediocrity after a 1970s dynasty – rediscovered success with Eckersley as a crucial component. He was originally intended to be used as a long reliever or starter, but fortuitously found himself in the closer’s role after an injury to Jay Howell. He went on to secure 390 saves for Oakland over the next nine seasons, helping the A’s to a 1989 World Series win as well as a 1992 American League Cy Young Award.

Also on this day, in 2010, Chris Kamara offered a truly memorable piece of sideline reporting for Sky Sports:

Daily highlight: Brad Marchand’s 100th point of the season came on a well worked goal for the Bruins seconds into the third period on Tuesday. Marchand was noticeably excited in the aftermath, realizing what the goal meant.

Trivia answer: The 1998 Marlins (who traded for Mike Piazza before quickly dealing him to the Mets)

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