Best of Connecticut 2010: People

 

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COACH

Geno Auriemma
The UConn women’s basketball team will probably have to lose a game in order for someone else to take home this honor. Auriemma’s team won its seventh national championship in its usual impeccable fashion, with hustle, poise and unselfish teamwork (and a ton of talent). In doing so, he has at last broken clear of Pat Summitt of Tennessee and all the other great coaches, past and present. He’s the best ever.

COMEDIAN: MALE

Conan O’Brien
Ouch. It’s hard to imagine a tougher knock than being ousted as host of NBC’s “Tonight Show” a mere six months after you got the gig—in favor of your predecessor. Weep not for “Coco,” however, who’s been down before (remember the early days of “Late Night”?) and who emerged from this latest onslaught of slings and arrows with a sweet severance package, a successful live road tour, two 2010 Emmy nominations and a brand-new TBS talk show, slated to debut in November. All together now: Jay who?

COMEDIAN: FEMALE

Lisa Lampanelli
Connecticut’s “Lovable Queen of Mean” is on a winning streak. Her comedy career took off in 2002 after she skewered Chevy Chase at a Friars Club Roast and she never looked back. Her most recent victim: David Hasselhoff—charred to a crisp. Her book Chocolate Please: My Adventures in Food, Fat and Freaks comes out in paperback Sept. 14, she is developing a pilot for a weekly series on HBO with Jim Carrey and Kario Salem, and best of all, after taking a year off from dating, she became engaged to Jimmy BB! Congratulations, Lisa and Jimmy!

DANCE TROUPE

Pilobolus Dance Theatre
Washington Depot, (860) 868-0538 (pilobolus.com)
Pilobolus is poetry in motion. But the dance troupe’s innovative choreography raised eyebrows back in 1971 when it got started. The group soon became world-renowned for its physically demanding and imaginative work and 40 years later, it is viewed as a pioneer in its field. This year Matt Kent and Renee Jaworski teamed up with Dan Zanes to develop “Contradance” for families, and in “Hapless Hooligan in ‘Still Moving,’” a love story told in the style of early comics, dancers interact live with Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic artist Art Spiegelman’s drawings.

SPORTS TEAM: MEN'S

Trinity College Men’s Squash
The archives can get a little murky when it comes to this sort of thing, but it now seems very likely that Trinity men’s squash is in the midst of the longest winning streak in the history of intercollegiate varsity sports. The team has won 224 matches in a row and 13 national championships in succession. This is well-known in squash circles, of course, and around the Trinity campus, but, oddly enough, the team probably got its biggest burst of publicity ever only last season after the Bantams’ top player went off against his Yale rival at the end of their match, and then the video of his meltdown went viral. It wasn’t a pretty sight, but it did get squash into the national sports conversation.

SPORTS TEAM: WOMEN'S

UConn Women’s Basketball
It will be hard to dislodge the UConn women from this spot until they stop gathering at the White House every spring for a get-together with the prez. The winning streak now stands at 78 games after the team topped Stanford for its seventh national championship. They’ll go into the 2010-11 season with the UCLA men’s record of 88 straight victories clearly in sight, but they’ll also be facing a very tough early schedule and a coach who doesn’t like to let them look beyond the next game. In any case, they’ve got to find someone on the team who can beat Barack Obama in a game of H-O-R-S-E in case he wants to try that again.

Best of Connecticut 2010: People

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