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UConn Coach Geno Auriemma to Receive Sons of Italy® Top Sports Honor

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900 kcafiero@osia.org

WASHINGTON, October 26, 2004 ­ The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA) will honor University of Connecticut's (UConn) women's basketball coach, Geno Auriemma with its 2005 Sports Award at the 49th National Convention in New York City in August 2005.

Auriemma currently holds the record of having the highest winning percentage of any active coach in Division I basketball. He is the only basketball coach in history to lead a team to five consecutive Final Four appearances.

"We are pleased to honor Geno Auriemma," says Joseph Sciame, OSIA's national president. "His career has not only brought success and pride to the University of Connecticut, but he is an inspiration to Italian Americans across the country."

The University of Connecticut had only one winning season in the first 11 years of the women's program prior to Auriemma's arrival. That all changed in 1986, during his second year at UConn, when Auriemma led the Huskies in a winning streak that continued for the next 17 years.

His honors include 15 National Coach of the Year Awards, six time winner of the Big East Coach of the Year and 14 Big East Regular Season Titles.

Auriemma will accept the OSIA award during OSIA's 49th National Convention, a biannual session that includes the election of national officers and bylaw changes.

The 2005 convention also marks the 100th anniversary of the Order Sons of Italy®®, which was founded on June 22, 1905 by Dr. Vincenzo Sellaro and leading businessmen in New York's Little Italy.

OSIA is the largest and oldest national organization for men and women of Italian heritage in the United States. It has more than 600,000 members and supporters and a network of more than 700 chapters coast to coast. OSIA works at the community, national and international levels to promote the heritage and culture of an estimated 26 million Italian Americans, the nation's fifth largest ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.