UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Fake money falling from the sky is not a new celebration for the Connecticut women's basketball team. After defeating South Carolina in February, $100 bills featuring Geno Auriemma's face fell from the ceiling in appreciation of the team's 100th consecutive victory.
Naturally, Auriemma's 1,000th victory -- clinched in Tuesday's 88-64 win over Oklahoma -- warranted the same treatment. Only this time, the face of UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey was on the bill, too, along with her signature.
Anyone, including Auriemma, will tell you that Dailey is just as important to each of the 1,000 wins.
"I don't think anything this difficult can be accomplished by one person," Auriemma said. "My title makes me responsible and makes me the recipient of all this, but there's no way we would be having this conversation right now if I had hired somebody different."
Dailey has been on Auriemma's staff since he took over the Huskies in 1985.
"We work with each other, I don't work for him," she said. "He has always been that way and treated me that way. That's why I could stay here 30-some years."
The faux $1,000 bills, the confetti and cake were all part of a grandiose celebration for the pair of coaches who have anchored what has become the most successful program in women's college basketball: 1,000 wins and just 135 losses. An unheard of .881 winning percentage.
"The confetti was my idea," Dailey said to Auriemma on court during the celebration after the players threw heaps of it at him.
"It wouldn't be a celebration event without Chris taking credit for everything that happened tonight," Auriemma responded. "That's how you keep someone around for 32 years. You let them think that everything is their idea."
The banter between them is nothing new. Dailey and Auriemma complement each other, and also rib one another. "Salt and pepper; black and white," is how junior forward Azurá Stevens described their relationship.
"I have two brothers, and he's a combination of both," Dailey said. "You'll never get in the last word in any argument or discussion. He's a great storyteller and a lot of fun, and a really giving person. People don't really see that."
To say that Dailey is detail oriented would be an understatement. Auriemma might be the one steering the team during games, but Dailey is the one who makes sure they get there in the first place. She preps the scouting report. Each time a new UConn player comes off the bench, she reminds them of what to watch out for on their assignment. When they come out, Dailey is there to break down their mistakes so that the players understand them.
"On the court, she's that little bird in your ear that's chirping, chirping, chirping at the little things you don't do," junior Katie Lou Samuelson said.
The little things extend beyond the court as well. Dailey plans the team-building events, monitors social media, and opens her door for each of her players. She jokes with Stevens about wearing leather (don't ask), and teases her regularly, asking Stevens, "How did you even get into college?"
When Samuelson needed extra guidance about how to manage the stress of a tough academic workload last semester, Dailey helped her through it.
"The best thing is that she we will always be honest," Samuelson said. "Even if you don't want to hear it, you know that she's saying it because she genuinely cares about you."
Added Stevens: "It's great to have a rapport like that, especially with a coach. I know she's going to push me to where I need to be, but off the court, and sometimes on the court, we can have that relationship where we can joke about things."
Still, Dailey is always focused on keeping things running smoothly.
After the court cleared and the cameras were gone Tuesday, Dailey stood outside of UConn's locker room. There was a situation and she was managing it. She handed her bag to a waiting staffer, directing him to take it to her car. It took two attempts to get her attention, but she dutifully stopped to answer questions.
As the staffer returned, Dailey reached out to grab her keys as he walked by without interrupting her, but she paused briefly to say, "Thank you."
Once she was finished with questions, she walked away before being stopped when another staff member walked by.
"Did you get the cake?" Dailey asked.
"It's on the bus," the staffer answered.
"Perfect," she said. And she continued on to the next thing.