Published July 24, 2012
ISTANBUL – Don't expect to see Geno Auriemma or Mike Krzyzewski marching with the U.S. delegation Friday night at the opening ceremony.
They aren't allowed because Olympic organizers decided to cut down the number of people marching to shorten the ceremony.
"It really was something special to do, but to be honest the Olympics are about the athletes," Auriemma said. "No one really remembers who the coaches were. No one remembers who coached Jesse Owens.
"I'm OK with it. The focus is, as it should be, on the athletes. They are the ones who got here and deserve the attention and praise."
Auriemma has already marched once when he was an assistant for the 2000 women's basketball team. He has fond memories of the ceremony, walking alongside some of the U.S. greats.
"On one side you have the best swimmers and the other the best track and field stars. It really is something very, very cool," he said.
While the coaching staff is fine with not participating, their athletes were disappointed.
"It really is unfortunate that coaches can't do it," Diana Taurasi said. "They put as much, if not more, time into it than we do. They have 12 or 14 hours days, we show up for practice for two or three hours.
"We'll have to tape that experience for them and let them see it through our eyes."
U.S. track and field men's coach Andrew Valmon also won't be participating in Friday's ceremony. He marched as an athlete in Barcelona at the 1992 Olympics before helping the 4x400 relay team win a gold medal. He'd much rather see someone go who hasn't had the chance to experience it.
"I'm actually trying to figure that out now," Valmon said. "I've done it from the athletes' standpoint. I want to make sure if someone else wants an opportunity to, I'll pass that along, since I've done it once before. It's an honor to put on the Ralph Lauren jacket and pants and hat. That's part of the whole experience."
Neither Valmon or Auriemma have a ticket to the opening ceremony. Auriemma plans to spend the time getting ready for the team's first game the next day against Croatia.
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AP Sports Writer Pat Graham in Birmingham, England, contributed to this report.