Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Holly Warlick to Keynote "Hoops for Hope" Event

Winning games is not the only tradition of University of Tennessee athletic coaches.

So is helping victims of child abuse and neglect.

Lady Vols head basketball coach Holly Warlick will be the keynote speaker May 7 for the 12th annual “Kids First” dinner and auction that raises money for the Child Advocacy Center of the 9th Judicial District

“Hoops for Hope” is the theme for this year’s event.

Warlick follows in the footsteps of previous big names in UT athletics that the Child Advocacy Center has called on to keynote the event: Pat Summitt, Bruce Pearl, Phillip Fulmer and David Cutcliffe.

CAC was formed in 2002 to provide a comprehensive approach to support child abuse victims ages 3 to 17 in Loudon, Meigs, Morgan and Roane counties.

CAC services, all of which are free, include therapy for children who have been abused, a program that provides abuse prevention and safety information to schoolchildren, and a program that teaches adults to be alert for signs that a child is being abused.

All money raised from the $100 per plate dinner goes to support those programs, not for administrative expenses, according to CAC.

The “Kids First” event will be at Rothchild Conference Center, 8807 Kingston Pike. An auction begins at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be at 7 p.m. Reservations should be received no later than April 30.

Tables for groups of 10 may also be reserved.

Make checks payable to Child Advocacy Center, P.O. Box 928, Lenoir City, TN 37771. Payment may be made by credit card, which requires a 3 percent fee.

For more information, contact Denise Dubrule at 865-986-1505, or visit http://www.kidsfirsttn.org.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pat Summitt's Dog, Sally Sue, Dies

Pat Summitt's yellow lab, Sally Sue, had to be euthanized Monday because of a brain tumor.

Katie Wynn, Summitt's secretary, said Tuesday the tumor was inoperable.

The 13-year-old dog was featured in the ESPN film "XO" and was seen comforting Summitt when she broke down while talking about her coaching career coming to an end.

Summitt's official biography on UTSports.com mentions Sally Sue twice: "(Summitt) has always been an intense, demanding, focused, bright-blue-steely-eyed competitor who is also a very caring, family-oriented person who enjoys a great walk on the beach with the family dogs, Sally Sue and Sadie."

Monday, April 14, 2014

New York Picks Tennessee's Meighan Simmons In WNBA Draft

The New York Liberty got the steal of the night at Mohegan Sun Arena, snagging Tennessee's Meighan Simmons, the 2014 Associated Press SEC Player of the Year, with the 26th overall selection of the WNBA Draft.

Simmons, who lasted until the second pick of the third round, continued Tennessee's rich history in the WNBA Draft, becoming the 38th player to join the league.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Ask Congress To Honor Alzheimer's Advocate, Pat Summitt

Ever since her diagnosis with early-onset Alzheimer's in 2011, legendary NCAA women's basketball coach, Pat Summitt, has taken on the disease with her signature game plan. She started the Pat Summitt Foundation with her son to help speed progress towards a cure and she's devoted her life to raising awareness and fighting the needless stigma associated with the disease.

Help honor her efforts and raise awareness of the growing prevalence of Alzheimer's by asking Congress to co-sponsor the Pat Summitt Congressional Gold Medal Act.

Click here to ask your congressional representatives to co-sponsor the Pat Summitt Congressional Gold Medal Act (H.R.3836 and S.1910).

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Pat and Tyler

Tyler and I are honored by the recent exhibit. It's beautiful!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Pat Summitt: A Legendary Lady

Because of her early-onset dementia Pat Summitt admitted in her book released last year there are times when she is unable to remember the many milestones and accomplishments of her career.

Her multitude of fans will never forget.

The Clarksville native who grew up in Henrietta and played basketball at Cheatham County High, won 1,098 games, 32 SEC championships and eight national championships in her 38 years as Tennessee's women's basketball coach.

Those are the highlights. The feats that roll off the tongues of diehard Lady Vols fans.

There are no categories or lists, however, which illustrate the positive impact Summitt, 61, had on the young women who played for her or the inspiration she provided for the countless little girls who attended her summer basketball camps or watched UT play.

Then there was the enormous competition she placed on her counterparts, unmeasurable pressure that forced them to elevate their game and in the process improve women's college basketball across the board.

Her legacy will not only be the seven times she was named NCAA Coach of the Year or the six halls of fame in which she has been inducted. But also her high personal standards like the bold and conscientious stand she took against girls high school players having to play the six-on-six style after most states had moved away from it.

Three players played offense and three on defense because it was deemed it was too strenuous for any to actually run the full length of the floor.

Summitt thought that was foolish and didn't hesitate to let the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association know it.

In just her second year as the coach at UT (1976), she testified in a lawsuit that challenged the six-on-six rule in court. Gil Gideon, executive director of the TSSAA at the time, testified that girls could better develop their skills if they didn't have to endure the "strain" it takes to run the full court.

While not issuing an injunction, the judge did direct the TSSAA to change to five-on-five for girls.

The TSSAA appealed and Summitt, not being one to back down from a challenge, became even more adamant with her stance. She let it be known that she would not sign another in-state high school player as long as the TSSAA continued playing six-on-six.

Two years later the TSSAA buckled and voted to approve the five-on-five style.

"Even then, Pat was a force," former Knoxville Journal sports writer Randy Moore wrote. "Single-handedly banishing six-girl basketball from Tennessee high schools is just one example of Pat's devotion to elevating her sport."

Summitt's career winning percentage was .844, but she always deflected the credit to her players.

"I remind people that I've never scored a basket for the University of Tennessee," she told the New York Times as she approached her 1,000th victory.

The recognition Summitt has received through the years spanned beyond basketball.

In 1997 she was honored by Working Mother magazine at the White House and named one of "25 Most Influential Working Mothers."

In 2007 U.S. News & World Report named her one of "Americas Best Leaders," and in 2012 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

A mind-boggling 74 former Lady Vols players, assistants and graduate assistants followed in her footsteps and became coaches. Seventeen are currently college head coaches.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

UT Signee's 15 Leads West to McDonald's Win

The Tennessee women's basketball program had a pair of future players in action Wednesday night in the McDonald's All America Game at the United Center, and both made plays to help their teams.

After Alexa Middleton starred on Monday night by winning the skills competition and three-point shootout at the Powerade Jam Fest, Jaime Nared stepped into the spotlight on Wednesday by leading the West to victory over Middleton's East squad, 80-78.

Nared, a 6-foot-1 wing who hails from Westview High School in Portland, Ore., followed in the footsteps of her future Lady Vol teammates and fellow Oregonians Mercedes Russell (Springfield H.S.) and Jordan Reynolds (Portland Central Catholic H.S.). For the night, Nared (pronounced Nard) scored a team-leading 15 points in 17 minutes and finished six-of-11 from the field, went three-of-three from the charity stripe and snared four rebounds.

A year ago, Russell earned game MVP honors with 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, while Reynolds contributed 10 points, 11 boards, three assists and a steal in the West's victory.

Middleton, a 5-9 guard from Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Riverdale H.S.) became the first McDonald's All-American to win two events in the Powerade Jam Fest. Two days later, she capped a 16-4 run for the East by draining a three-pointer from the left wing to lift her team into the lead, 37-36, during the first half after trailing 32-25 at one point. She finished with three points, five assists and four rebounds in 20 minutes of action.

Tennessee expects to open the 2014-15 campaign with no fewer than seven McDonald's All-Americans on its roster. In addition to Middleton, Nared, Reynolds and Russell, the Lady Vols also have Cierra Burdick, Bashaara Graves and Ariel Massengale returning. UT's third fall 2013 signee, 6-1 wing Kortney Dunbar from Edwardsville, Ill., was a McDonald's nominee for her state and will be playing in the first-ever SchollyMe All-World Game along with Middleton on April 19 in Irvine, Calif.

Annual Forget Me Not 5K Benefits Those with Alzheimer's

The fifth annual Forget Me Not 5K will take place Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. at the Loudon County Visitor Center in Lenoir City. Proceeds from the race will benefit The Pat Summitt Foundation and Alzheimer's research.

Although the race has boomed from 100 runners in its first year to an expected 800 at this year's event, the Forget Me Not 5K's origin story is somewhat "unconventional," race director Angela Wampler said.

"My daughter, while home from college for summer, had a dream," Wampler said. "In her dream, she and I were running a 5K – which we often do. She looked at my shirt and it said 'The Forget Me Not 5K for Alzheimer's.' My mom has the disease. So we decided to act on her dream."

Before joining forces with Summitt, the race took place twice and donated proceeds to the Cole Neuroscience Center, a research institute for Alzheimer's research. But upon hearing of Summitt's early onset dementia, the race gained a new focus.

"After Pat was diagnosed, we thought it was a perfect partnership to work with her foundation to fight this dreaded disease," Steve Harrelson, another of the race's coordinators, said.

On race day, there will be a pre-race party as runners arrive and sign in. Refreshments will be provided both before and after the race. Wampler said the event is followed by a party including a disk jockey and door prizes such as signed basketballs.

"Fingers crossed Pat will be there," Wampler said. "She is our hero and needs our help to fight this fight against such a fierce opponent."

For more information and to register for the race, www.forgetmenot5k.com.

Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Opens Pat Summitt Exhibit

The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, located inside the Bridgestone Arena, has announced a new, permanent Pat Summitt Exhibit that will open on Friday, the first day of activities at the 2014 NCAA Women's Final Four.

The Nashville Local Organizing Committee (NLOC) is providing free admission to the Pat Summitt Exhibit from April 4th-8th, allowing basketball fans to experience the new exhibit during their time in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Pat Summitt Exhibit will feature memorabilia, photos, videos and interactive displays highlighting the former women’s college basketball coach.
Now serving as head coach emeritus of the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team, Coach Summitt holds the most all-time wins for a coach in NCAA basketball history of either a men’s or women’s team in any division.

She coached from 1974 to 2012, all with the Lady Vols, winning eight NCAA national championships, second only to the record 10 titles won by UCLA men’s coach John Wooden.

She is the only coach in NCAA history, and one of three college coaches overall, with at least 1,000 victories.

“Pat Summitt has been the single most influential person in women’s sports,” said Bill Emendorfer, executive director, Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. “As a native Tennessean, her roots and values run deep with the heritage of this great state. It seems fitting to open the Pat Summitt Exhibit during the Women’s Final Four. The exhibit offers a unique opportunity to follow this Tennessee legend from her youth to her career as both a player and coach. It will be an opportunity to catch a glimpse of how Coach Summitt rose from a Tennessee farm girl to a national legend.”

The Pat Summitt Exhibit at the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame will open to the public on Friday, April 4th from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

The exhibit will also be open; Saturday, April 5th, 9:00am to 5:00pm, Sunday April 6th, 10:00am to 9:30pm. (Game Night), Monday April 7th, 10:00am to 5:00pm, and Tuesday, April 8th, 10:00am to 10:00pm. (Game Night).

“Our NLOC decided early in the process that we needed to leave our community with a lasting legacy of celebrating women’s basketball and women’s athletics. Working closely with the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, we committed to opening this Pat Summitt exhibit in Nashville during Final Four week. What better way to celebrate Tennessee’s own Coach Pat Summitt than with 30,000 basketball fans,” said Margaret Behm, co-chair, Nashville Local Organizing Committee. “Coach Summitt changed women’s basketball in this state and in our country and we are proud to be a part of this living legacy that celebrates her amazing career.”

The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame is located inside the Bridgestone Arena, 501 Broadway in Nashville. For more information, visit www.tshf.net.