UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma offers to work for free to help budget

UConn women's basketball coach coach Geno Auriemma has offered up his own solution in the state of Connecticut's ongoing budget battle by volunteering to forgo his salary next year as a response to those who criticized him and high salaries at UConn.

"I'll tell you what. I'll work for free next year," Auriemma told the Hartford Courant. "I'll give up what the state pays me, what the taxpayers are paying me, but guess what? I pay my taxes and I don't care how much money it costs for me to have good schools where I live in Manchester. My [adult] kids don't go to school there. I can afford it. I want to be proud of our town's education system. Why is it that older people turn their back on education when somebody paid for their kids when they were in school? We've lost sight of what we have to do for other people."

Auriemma is scheduled to make just over $2 million next year, and his decision to weigh in was not only spurred by outrage relating to his salary, but also in part because of the budget battle and its threat to make major cuts to UConn's overall budget.

The state of Connecticut still has yet to establish a budget more than two months into the fiscal year, and as a resident of the state with kids in the education system, he understands the gravity of the situation as it relates to the budget and his employer.

"I do not want to come across as someone who doesn't understand what the realities are," Auriemma told the Courant "Not unlike a lot of states, Connecticut is facing real issues of how to pay its obligations. Some people are going to get hurt. I don't know if anyone is going to get helped. This is like a family issue. Everybody is going to have to suffer a little bit.

"You try to be fair to everyone, real about what your priorities are and don't let politics get in the way. Whether it's the politics of UConn lobbying for its benefit or one party or another -- one's in favor, one's against -- and then it's less about the issue and more about who's going to be right and who's going to be wrong."

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