March 15, 2005
Please, enough of this Pat Summitt history already.
DePaul coach Doug Bruno could be forgiven the thought before the Blue Demons' game at Tennessee on Jan. 14, 2003.
Summitt was poised to become the first women's coach to join the 800 victory club. The previous time the two teams met, UT was playing its first game after Summitt's induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Lady Vols marked that occasion with a 42-point margin of victory and, according to Bruno, "were like a group of tigers that hadn't been fed.''
In the return engagement, the Lady Vols paid the final dues on their coach's 29-season passage to 800 with a 76-57 victory.
Bruno and his players were gracious in defeat. They stayed for the post-game ceremony and joined the photo session.
"When you get into this profession,'' Bruno said, "you understand when you step between the lines there are no friends. You have to be ready to compete with your mother and father. At the same time, when you step outside the lines, there are some very special people in this business.''
Bruno joked about having a future place in Summitt history.
"My guardian angel already has pulled me aside and said the next time we're there, she'll be going for 880 to beat (Dean) Smith,'' he said.
His angel was winging it on that prediction. No such bad luck for Bruno.
Dec. 5, 1999: After Tennessee beats Wisconsin 85-62 at Madison's Kohl Center, the hall of fame memorabilia seekers went so far as to request Pat Summitt's outfit. She referred to the mauve ensemble she wore that day as one of her favorite suits.
"If they had told me, I'd have worn a different suit,'' she said.
Summitt continued her accelerated pace, reaching 700 victories quicker than any coach in women's basketball history.
Nov. 23, 1996: Cozy Patrick Gymnasium brought to mind some of the smaller venues of Summitt's early coaching career as the Lady Vols beat Marquette 83-68 at the Howard Bank Classic in Burlington, Vt.
Summitt posed for pictures afterward with players who weren't born when Summitt win No. 1 went into the books.
She received flowers and a cake from Vermont Gov. Howard Dean as well as a standing ovation from the crowd.
"It was neat, it was touching,'' Summitt said. "You expect that at home. By no means did I expect it here. I'll remember this.''
The Lady Vols knocked out this latest batch of 100 wins in three years, two days, allowing Summitt reached the 600-win plateau in 734 games, the fastest accumulation in women's basketball history.
Nov. 21, 1993: Before the hugs and flowers, the Lady Vols gave Summitt the perfect gift with tenacious defense.
They helped force 25 turnovers and held Ohio State to 28.8 percent shooting from the floor in an 80-45 victory in the inaugural State Farm Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic in Jackson, Tenn.
The milestone win came against Ohio State coach Nancy Darsch, Summitt's former top assistant coach.
Jan. 25, 1990: Against South Carolina, the Lady Vols needed to overcome a double-figure deficit similar to Sunday's deficit against Auburn to prevail 70-69 at Carolina Coliseum in Columbia, S.C.
The victory predated South Carolina's inclusion into the SEC.
Jan. 4, 1987: The Lady Vols beat North Carolina 87-68 at Stokely Athletics Center.
The victory came during a season in which the Lady Vols won the first of their six NCAA championships.
This batch of 100 took the longest to accumulate, spanning five years and 32 days.
Dec. 3, 1982: The Lady Vols deliver win No. 200 to coach Pat Head at the University of Detroit's Coca-Cola Classic Tournament. Tennessee beats St. John's 69-56.
Like the Marquette win for No. 600, this game stands as the only women's basketball meeting between the two schools.
Jan. 13, 1979: Tennessee beats North Carolina State 79-66 at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C. It took Summitt three years and 362 days to reach triple figures in career victories.