Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Summitt influence

Coach grew with Lady Vols, tirelessly reached the top

When Pat Summitt began her women's basketball coaching career at the University of Tennessee in the fall of 1974, she was unsure of her philosophy and her style.

"I wasn't even sure what my philosophy, my style would be like," said Summitt, whose UT career began in 1974.

She was a 22-year-old graduate assistant, coaching 21-year-old players. She was excited and frightened, in over her head by her admission.

She settled on a basic course of action: "Go in and be tough. You can always let up."

Upon this foundation, Summitt built a career that's reached 31 seasons and 880 career coaching victories, the most for any coach, man or woman, in NCAA Division I history. The following excerpts from stories published in the News Sentinel through the years, which cover a variety of subjects and stages in her coaching life and reflect the scope of her career.

The anxious graduate assistant has been has been a thorough study on just everything -- except how to let up.

Hall of Famer

June, 1992: Two pioneers in University of Tennessee women's athletics, coaches Pat Summitt and Terry Crawford, are among those who will be enshrined July 18 in the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame.

The class of inductees also includes Harold Long in martial arts, Bill Luttrell in the all-around class, doubles tennis team Reese Patterson and Stanley Ford, football stars Johnny Payne and Trent Walters, golfer Donnie Varner, basketball standout Jay Cole and softball player Cy Roberts.

Summitt, who has been women's basketball coach at UT since 1974, was co-captain of the 1976 U.S. Olympic silver medal team, and coached the 1984 Olympic team to the gold medal. She has won three NCAA championships and has led the Lady Vols to the Final Four 11 times.

"This is a great honor," Summitt said. "I'm excited for a lot of reasons, one reason being the fact there have been a lot of great people who have been inducted.

"This is also special because Terry Crawford is in this class and we go way back. I think about first coming to Tennessee and getting started and how the program was certainly in the building stages." -- News Sentinel

June, 1999: "Honor the past, celebrate the present, promote the future."

The theme for Saturday night's inaugural Women's Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Civic Coliseum -- also the title for a 17-foot sculpture featuring players past, present and future -- offered the perfect tribute to those who shaped the women's game.

The statue's unveiling on Friday helped kick off the Hall of Fame weekend. On Saturday night, 25 of the game's most-prominent figures -- players and coaches, young and old -- became the Hall of Fame's first members.

"Everyone thinks I am a tough coach, but tonight I am an emotional individual who is really touched," said University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, the final inductee of the night. "This is a dream come true for all of us." -- Paul McAfee

Oct. 2000: SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Pat Summitt received her own blazer to commemorate her induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

She did not slip on a gold watch.

"I think of this type of award coming when you're getting ready to retire," the University of Tennessee women's basketball coach said. "I'm not getting ready to retire."

The sheer weight of her accomplishments was sufficient cause for reiterating her status. A career spanning four decades and featuring 26 seasons, 728 career victories and six national championships was celebrated during Friday night's induction ceremonies at the Springfield Civic Center.

However, there were more immediate reasons for the reminder. For instance, there was the presence of her sister, Linda. She was convinced to attend the festivities by the pastor of her church, who compared her sister's honor with a preacher becoming an angel in heaven.

"I'm an angel in basketball heaven," said Summitt, laughing.

Then there are her Lady Vols' players. The first practice of a new season is this afternoon, the first workout with their newly honored coach.

"I can imagine what they're thinking," Summitt said. "Coach is over the hill."

If so, they better think again. In looking back over her storied career, Summitt found herself looking ahead with great anticipation.

"I'll have a little hop in my step (this afternoon)," Summitt said.

Summitt was equally buoyant during Friday's program, which began with a morning rehearsal and concluded with the main event.

A video tribute accompanied Summitt's presentation. She noted, "You see all the wonderful hairdos I had to live through."

Summitt was presented by her former Olympic coach and mentor Billie Moore, who asked, "How do you introduce someone with those credentials?" -- Dan Fleser

Dec 2002: It was only a matter of time until Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt joined the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

That time is just around the corner. Summitt was named the Naismith coach of the century in April 2000 and was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame the following October. Her teams have won six NCAA titles and a combined 21 SEC tournament or regular-season championships.

"I've only worked in one state and at one institution,"' said Summitt. "Being a native Tennessean, it means a lot to me. It's my home state. I've had tremendous support from the University, the fans in this state, the people in general." -- News Sentinel'


Nov. 1976: "Ms. Pat Head, captain of the U.S.A. women's basketball team at the Olympic Games in Montreal (winner of the silver medal), head coach of the University of Tennessee women's basketball team and physical education instructor at the University, testified that the college scholarship opportunities for women athletes had increased drastically in recent years and she expected even better opportunities for them in the future. She added that in college and the Olympic Games women play full-court, five-player basketball. In coaching girls who had played under the split-court rules, she felt there was both a mental and physical handicap for them to overcome when changing to the full-court college game. She noted that of the eleven Tennesseans on her team, 10 were offensive players in high school. Offensive players have a definite advantage in securing scholarships, in her opinion.''

-- From records for the United States District Court. Summitt testified in case that challenged six-on-six girls' basketball in the state and whether separate rules were denial of equal protection under the fourteenth Amendment. It was the first step toward the end one era and the start of another with the five-player, full-court game for the 1979-80 season.

Oct. 1994: Tennessee's coach, with 530 career victories and three national championships, has done for intensity what Vince Lombardi did for the power sweep. Former player Kelli Casteel-Cook has not been yelled at since graduating after the 1991-92 season. Yet the Maryville College coach said her former coach "still gives me the willies."

When Summitt called earlier this month, Casteel-Cook's first reaction was, "What have I done wrong?" -- Dan Fleser

April 1997: Is it just me, or does anybody else think Pat Summitt should be more than just a college basketball coach?

Maybe it's because anytime a prominent local sports personality has a crucial decision to make, he confers with Summitt.

Peyton Manning can't decide whether to stay at UT or go pro. He meets with Summitt.

Kevin O'Neill is about to leave UT for Northwestern. He has an 11th-hour meeting with Summitt the night before his departure.

Maybe it's because she can have a cup of coffee at the White House without donating $50,000 to the Democratic Party.

Twice in the last year, she has been an honored guest of the President's. And after the Lady Vols beat Old Dominion for the national championship last Sunday, another White House trip was assured.

And that's only what I know about.

Maybe state politicians call her regularly for advice. Perhaps neighbors consult her for parenting tips. Maybe surgeons call her from the operating room.

I'm not saying she has all the answers. But she has good ones.

Summitt's work ethic, her motivational and people skills, would serve her well in any business, including politics. It's occasionally said of prominent sports figures that he or she "is popular enough to run for governor." Summitt is not only popular enough to run for governor. She's charismatic enough to win.

But I have something bigger in mind.

In a couple of years, Doug Dickey likely will retire as UT's athletic director. Is any one better suited than Summitt for that job? -- John Adams

April, 2000: BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Peyton Manning, Pat Summitt and Eddie George are all in great shape. They're about to help others improve their health.

The star quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, the University of Tennessee women's basketball coach and the Tennessee Titans running back are providing training tips on a new Web site,, launched Thursday by Adidas.

Other contributors to the site will be Nomar Garciaparra, shortstop of the Boston Red Sox, and Kristine Lilly, midfielder on the U.S. women's soccer team, plus top trainers from baseball and soccer. - News Sentinel

October, 2000: Imagine a swat on the rear end or the pungent smell of an ammonia stick as being inspiration for a Hall of Fame basketball career.

Pat Summitt can.

These and many other memories will be rushing through her thoughts tonight as the Tennessee Lady Vols coach is inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

Summitt will be among six inductees.

Her presenters will be Billie Moore, her former Olympic coach and mentor, and Tyler Summitt, her 10-year-old son. They represent a significant scope of her life.

But so do such coaches as Joe Daves, Mike Jarreau and Nadine Gearin.

Elementary school teachers Miss Davis and Miss Winters also have their place among the Summitt family members, colleagues and players.

They aren't lurking in the shadows, either.

After 26 seasons, 728 career coaching victories and six national championships, Summitt places them among the forefront of her influences.

She began reminiscing about them by saying, "I think you're going to see why I started coaching the way I've coached."

Daves has a large presence. His 6-foot-5 frame towers among Summitt's memories. His thundering voice echoes across the years.

Daves' favorite teaching aid also left an impression. It was a large paddle called "Blister II."

This board of education had two holes drilled in the hitting surface for effect.

"I think he broke Blister I," Summitt said.

Daves coached Summitt in the eighth grade at Roosevelt Elementary. He was her teacher, too.

One day, after getting caught chewing gum and talking in class, Summitt was asked to bend over and grab her ankles. She was about to be blistered.

"It picked me up and moved me a foot in the air," Summitt said. "Let me tell you it leaves blisters."

Summitt laughed in recalling the moving experience, seemingly oblivious to the possible connotations or ramifications of that sort of punishment in today's classroom. Obviously, "Blister II" didn't leave her overly callous. As much as it hurt, the encounter also helped.

"He (Daves) really challenged me," Summitt said. "It was good for my mental toughness."

Jarreau, Summitt's coach at Cheatham County High in Ashland City, Tenn., wasn't nearly so forceful. He didn't wield a big stick or raise his voice. But he was demanding. His drill sergeant approach featured constant repetition.

"I can remember setting and using screens until I wanted to scream," Summitt said. "When we practiced, we did (things) over and over and over. He wanted perfection. He demanded it."

Hmmm, who does that sound like? Summitt's coaching staff occasionally admonishes her during an obsessive portion of practice by saying "We need to move on." When it happens, she thinks to herself, "That's coach Jarreau."

That's Davis and Winters as well. They were Summitt's first- and third-grade teachers, respectively. Summitt had trouble recalling their first names. But "Miss" was like a first name to a young student, reflecting endearment and respect.

"Miss Winters passed away last year," Summitt said. "I remember Mama calling and telling me."

Winters worked extra with Summitt on her worst subject, math. Davis held Summitt out of recess to polish her writing skills.

"The number 2, I couldn't get the curve right; and the letter S," Summitt said.

"She was a stickler for that. It had to be so neat, so exact."

By comparison, Gearin, Summitt's coach at Tennessee-Martin, was more improvising than exacting.

She coached basically in order for Summitt and her teammates to have a coach.

The team often played several games in a day. If Gearin noticed that her players were sagging, she'd call them together in a timeout huddle, break an ammonia stick and wave it under their noses.

"We had no weights, no conditioning," Summitt said. "But we had ammonia sticks."

And they had a team.

"She was more of a friend, still is today," Summitt said of Gearin. "She did this to allow us to have an opportunity."

Summitt obviously has made the most of her opportunities. Tonight will be a memorable tribute to her accomplishments.

It will be another moving experience. -- Dan Fleser

May 2001: The winner was the Helen Ross McNabb Center, a local charity mental health treatment facility which provides help for thousands of East Tennesseans. The Summitt golf tournament is one of five events in the John & Ted Summer Games which raise money for the McNabb Center. And Summitt gave it more than her name.

Summitt arrived at the course at 7:15 a.m. She was still there eight hours later. She hit shots, presented awards and signed autographs. And she did it all with Final Four enthusiasm.

You can casually observe Summitt going through a day like this and understand her success as a coach, motivator or fundraiser. She is engrossed in what she does, whether it's a game, an interview or a conversation. With her, every shot counts. In her 27 years at the University of Tennessee, she has won six national championships and amassed the kind of credibility charities crave. Her first golf tournament in conjunction with the John & Ted Summer Games drew a capacity crowd of participants and a waiting list, too. Next year, the tournament might be expanded to morning and afternoon sessions.

Summitt's name didn't always carry such clout. In her first five years as a coach, the requests were few and the audiences were small.

"I spoke to every civic group that called," Summitt said. "And I took part in every charity that invited me. A lot of times, I spoke to just a handful of people."

Time constraints demand that she be more selective now. She aligns herself with a handful of charities and gives each one her best shot.

"I'm part of this community and I want to give back to the community," Summitt said. "Through events like this, you can make a positive difference." -- John Adams

Jan. 2003: Tennessee will return to Chicago next season to continue its women's basketball series with DePaul.

Blue Demons coach Doug Bruno and Tennessee coach Pat Summitt are considering two playing dates. Summitt's preference is to play in December. But she has room in January, in case DePaul wants to schedule a game at Allstate Arena and try to draw a bigger crowd.

"That's coach," Bruno said of Summitt. "That probably speaks more volumes about her than the wins. Very few coaches are like that."

Very few coaches also win 800 games in their career. Summitt became the sixth coach to join the club with a victory over DePaul on Tuesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Some of the milestone victories, though, reflect Bruno's tribute within a tribute.

Win No. 600 took place in Burlington, Vt., at the University of Vermont's Howard Bank Classic. Summitt wanted to take the Lady Vols there, and the Catamounts were overjoyed to have them.

"It's great for Vermont," said then-Vermont coach Pam Borton. "It's huge for women's basketball in this area."

Win No. 500 for Summitt came at the inaugural State Farm Hall of Fame Classic. The event was conceived as a fund-raiser for the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. The facility originally was planned for Jackson, Tenn., but ended up in Knoxville. Summitt was a big reason why.

"Most coaches don't think about the big picture, they think about what's good for them and their team," Bruno said. "She thinks about the big picture. That's why she is who she is.

"She'll do anything to grow the game. If it means playing a game outdoors in Arizona, she'll play a game outdoors in Arizona."

Bruno was referring to Tennessee's game two seasons ago against Arizona State at Bank One Ballpark. The chilly conditions weren't conducive to good basketball.

Nonetheless, the game drew a Pac 10 Conference record crowd of 16,282, raising nearly $20,000 for breast cancer research and promoting women's hoops in the Phoenix area. -- Dan Fleser

Jan. 1999: Undoubtedly there are countless Pat Summitt admirers who think the University of Tennessee women's basketball coach wrote the book on her profession.

Four seasons ago, two dissenters were certain that a rewrite was in order.

Beleaguered by Summitt's barbs before a key road game at Colorado, former Lady Vols Abby Conklin and Michelle Marciniak collaborated on a coaching treatise that they referred to as the "I never . . ." list.

Their bill of rights, or at least what they thought was right, listed 12 to 14 items and was at least two pages long. They went to great detail in expressing themselves. Conklin described the gist of their work thusly, "Each thing was something Pat does that we'd never do when we became a college coach."

Conklin is now a college coach, an assistant at North Carolina-Asheville. She wondered about that list recently, noting what an ironic read it would be today.

"I'd like to see what we'd never do," Conklin said, "to see what I'm now doing."

Indeed, Conklin has left telephone messages with her former coach/foil indicating that Asheville's players are inclined to think of her as "Pat Summitt Jr."

Well, there could be worse distinctions. -- Dan Fleser

Oct. 2001: Player development is a more relevant issue, particularly in light of recent events. For example, why is center Michelle Snow an accomplished offensive threat and yet still so ineffective defensively? How can Gwen Jackson play like the nation's best player in the wake of Tamika Catchings' season-ending knee injury last January, only to disappear by SEC tournament time?

An unpublished Summitt critic approached Jackson in a local mall this summer, telling the junior forward that Summitt was holding her back.

Jackson replied, "That lady has six rings. There's no way she could be holding somebody back."

The player sounds more angry and distressed than the coach.

"The main reason we should want to slaughter people," Jackson said, "is how people portray (Summitt) when we lose."

It's a fact that Summitt cannot answer any critic in a worthwhile fashion without the players' input. Jackson has had her say. Is her fire self-contained? Or has it spread?

"I know everywhere she goes, she's been getting harassed about my defense and our lack of team defense," Snow said. "This summer she has called and written us letters. She's putting it out there. She's covering our butts."

If so, perhaps the Lady Vols can return the favor. -- Dan Fleser

Feb. 2001: Former UConn player Shea Ralph, who attended Tennessee's camps and knows Summitt through her mother, Marsha, a former teammate of Summitt's, had this to say about Tennessee's coach:

"I hope I'll be able to show my kids that I know this lady who helped turn women's basketball around. I'm really happy about that. Maybe I can send my daughter there.'' -- Dan Fleser

May 2003: It wasn't long, however, before (Gwen) Jackson, 22, discovered that she's not the only (San Antonio) Silver Stars player who knows the lyrics to "Rocky Top." Guard Semeka Randall played two years with Jackson at Tennessee under coach Pat Summitt.

... Randall said she has seen Jackson's game improve "drastically" over the years.

"Consistency has been the big thing," Randall said. "She would play well in spurts, but now she's more consistent."

Jackson credits Summitt, who has been at Tennessee 29 years, for the transformation.

"She made sure I had the total package, that I kept working on my game," Jackson said of the legendary Lady Vols coach. "She taught me that life is about working hard and being the best you can be every day.'' -- San Antonio Express-News

Jan. 2004: Mickie DeMoss heard a distinct echo during a recent team practice.

The Kentucky women's basketball coach couldn't remember exactly what she said. It was the tone that was unforgettable.

"Oh my gosh that sounded just like Pat," DeMoss recalled thinking. "I sound like Pat Jr., out here."

Small wonder that DeMoss was reflecting Tennessee coach Pat Summitt. After 18 years as a Lady Vols' assistant coach, she probably could recite Summitt's "Definite Dozen" in her sleep.

DeMoss, the former good cop of the UT staff, admitted to starting out "really, really tough" in her new job. Summitt found the difference ironic and amusing.

"Mickie was always the one saying, 'We practice too long. You're too tough on the kids'; I heard that numerous times," Summitt said. "My thought when she took the job was, 'Will you be tough enough?' "Kentucky freshman Angela Phillips, who played four years at Oak Ridge High School for a no-nonsense coach in Jill Prudden, said her adjustment to DeMoss has been minimal.

"Coach Prudden, you know how she is," Phillips said. "Coach DeMoss has a lot of similarities."

The Summitt-DeMoss coaching influence goes both ways. Imagine Summitt dressing up in a werewolf mask for a recruiting visit from celebrated prospect Candace Parker? It actually happened. It would've been unthinkable without some of DeMoss' personality rubbing off on Summitt.

"I learned a lot about how to recruit student-athletes," Summitt said. "She has tremendous people skills." Dan Fleser

June 2002: All this (the hiring of Pat Summitt Washington Mystics player-personnel consultant) is breaking the right way because Summitt, who sits 500 miles away in Knoxville, at the University of Tennessee where she's won six NCAA championships, signed on. Summitt's official title is player personnel consultant. This is because Summitt isn't ready to leave Tennessee, the life and career she built there. But title or no title, Summitt is the boss. She's the magic name in college basketball. She has the authority in her sport Phil Jackson has in his. Players listen to her, if they don't outright fear her. For some people, Pat Riley personifies charisma in a coach; for me, it's Pat Summitt. She's one of the most commanding and regal people I've ever met in sports. -- Michael Wilbon, Washington Post, on Summitt's role with WNBA's Washington Mystics.

August 2002: "She is a business woman," said Susan Richardson Williams, a public relations executive for the Ingram Group, a UT trustee and a former Lady Vols associate athletic director, "whether you think of her as a coach or not."

The business world is interested in what she (Summitt) has to say.

In 1997, Williams convened eight of Nashville's most high-powered CEOs for a fund raiser for the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Summitt was the real inspiration, though, behind the get-together. Her audience asked to hear the story of how she went into labor with her son, Tyler, while on a recruiting trip in 1990.

Williams said the executives listened with rapt attention to a woman talking about her water breaking.

"She's worth millions to the university in terms of national exposure in the corporate world," Williams said. "The contacts and relationships she's built in the corporate world with people who want to be around her -- they want that energy. It's almost like they want to rub the belly of Buddha." -- Dan Fleser


No final loss hurt more than last season's 71-68 setback against Louisiana Tech in the Mideast Regional semifinals (1994).

No trip back to the drawing board was more confusing. What more was necessary? What could be missing from a team that won 31 games last season? This was a squad that senior center Dana Johnson has said over and over again, "had all the tools."

After considerable offseason review, Summitt concurred with the previous notion. She merely decided that the hammer was being underused.

"The best thing I can do," Summitt decided after that loss, "is be Pat Summitt."The decision, like most of the aforementioned assessments, begs for perspective. Summitt has not had to roll away the rock and rise from the ranks of the uninspired. Nor does she think that anything she has done or has not done the past three years has necessarily robbed the Lady Vols of their postseason touch.

Outside considerations have come and gone from her worry list as well. Has motherhood weakened her resolve? Summitt does not think so.

Perhaps her feelings, her soft side, were getting in the way. What soft side? "I'm extremely sensitive," Summitt said. "But would people ever think that -- no." -- Dan Fleser

March 1996: Thursday was a travel day for Tennessee's women's basketball team. The Lady Vols journeyed to Charlottesville, Va., and set up camp for this weekend's NCAA East Regional.

This day away from the basketball court came two days after a full off day. No practice. No film sessions. No kidding.

What gives here? A new kind of March Madness?

"More is not better at this time of year," said UT coach Pat Summitt.

This thought comes directly from someone who once worked a team through the start of a Tennessee football game, a coach described thusly by point guard Michelle Marciniak: "We know if she had her way, she'd probably give us a day off a month."

Summitt is prone to stew about everything at this time of year. Undoubtedly she has composed a lengthy list of concerns about Kansas, UT's semifinal opponent at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at University Hall. But she seems almost serene about her squad.

"As a coach, you're always hesitant to say anything," Summitt said. "But we're right where we want to be as a team." -- Dan Fleser

Jan. 1998: Alabama's Paul "Bear" Bryant, arguably the best football coach of all time, won his first national title with a conservative, defensive-oriented team; won another with a dropback passing attack; and eventually dominated the SEC with the wishbone.

UCLA basketball coach John Wooden won his first championship with a guard-dominated team that didn't have a starter taller than 6-foot-5. Yet the most dominant years of Wooden's dynasty were centered around the game's best post players, Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton.

The best coaches are like the best politicians. They can be liberal or conservative. Whatever it takes to win.

Summitt might be conservative by nature; she surely is a hands-on coach. Yet she has adjusted smoothly to a women's game that becomes more athletic every season. She doesn't erect stop signs, doesn't get in the way of her talent.

When players show Summitt they can play, she let's them. When this much-heralded freshman recruiting class showed Summitt how truly advanced it was, she didn't stifle it.

Some coaches might have been more reluctant to take playing time from veteran members of a championship team. Summitt has let the talent run its course.

Now, with four freshmen playing prominent roles, the Lady Vols are on course for a third consecutive national championship, and on pace to set an attendance record for women's college basketball. -- John Adams

Sept. 2002: The Tennessee coaching staff was on the move this summer. Its intention was to make sure the Lady Vols' offense would do likewise.

Pat Summitt and her women's basketball assistants went to Philadelphia in search of some fresh Xs and Os. They began work on an information trade with Villanova women's coach Harry Perretta. Some defensive strategy and organizational tips were offered in exchange for a clinic in Perretta's motion offense.

... The decision to approach Perretta was inspired by Summitt's conversation with Boston College coach Cathy Inglese.

Perretta couldn't have been more accommodating when the Lady Vols visited in June. He brought back former players to run Villanova's offense and allowed Tennessee's coaches to make a video.

Perretta compared the Wildcats' approach to the confounding motion offense run by the Princeton men's team.

"You have to guard us all," he said. "We're constantly moving. If you overplay us, we'll go backdoor. If you underplay, we"ll shoot threes.

"It's frustrating. You have to play defense for long periods of time."

The Wildcats led the nation last season in 3-pointers per game (8.5). They also were the most efficient team, averaging 11.3 turnovers a game.

The Lady Vols took full advantage of Villanova's basketball hospitality. Summitt acted more like an eager beginner than an accomplished veteran coach.

"I was shocked with her willingness to want to learn, to want to incorporate something different," Perretta said. -- Dan Fleser

Through The Years

Oct. 1990: Summitt was scheduled to give birth to give birth to her first child today. But baby schedules aren't as reliable as basketball schedules.

The story began Sept. 20 with a recruiting trip to Allentown, Pa. Although her baby was due in two weeks, Summitt was determined to make the trip. Her doctor said it was OK.

(Then assistant coach Mickie) DeMoss is neither a doctor nor a mother. But by the time the UT plane arrived in Allentown, DeMoss questioned whether the baby was going to wait another to weeks to join the world.

"I had tried not to think that it could remotely happen," DeMoss said. "Then, Pat started to have some contractions."

Nonetheless, Summitt and DeMoss arrived at the recruit's (Michelle Marciniak's) home on schedule. Once there, DeMoss handled the presentation.

While she was extolling the virtues of the Lady Vols' championship basketball program, Summitt was feeling more and more uncomfortable. After telephoning her doctor, she alerted DeMoss: "Mickie, we need to leave now."

"My heart started beating faster," said DeMoss. "I felt like we were in the last two minutes of game."

Actually, she felt worse than that, especially after her head coach told her: "I'm going to have that baby in Knoxville."

"If you know Pat, you know that once she makes up her mind, it's hard to change her," DeMoss said.

After the pilot was forewarned, DeMoss began the fast break to the airport. She ran a red light and drove through a ditch on the way.

She arrived with a message: "Don't land anywhere but Knoxville; put your pedal to the metal..."

The flight, which routinely takes 2A 1/2 hours, took only two hours. Or about two days, from DeMoss' vantage point.

Summitt's husband, R.B., was waiting at the airport. So was an ambulance. ...

The baby was delivered early the following morning. Afterward, a doctor told DeMoss if the baby's head hadn't been turned sideways, Summitt could have had the baby on the plane.

And DeMoss would have had to deliver.

"I knew I didn't have a choice," DeMoss said. "There weren't any parachutes on the plane." -- John Adams

Jan. 1994: Summitt and her husband, R.B., once had talked about buying a four-wheel drive vehicle, but Summitt did not notice when R.B. came home with an Olds Bravada. She pulled into the garage, parked next to it and walked into the house without so much as a surprised glance.

"You'd have to be totally involved in something else not to see that automobile,'' she said.

"I get in a trance, in particular during basketball season. But I think that's had a tremendous amount to do with what's happened in my career. It's like I'm on a mission.'' - Dan Fleser.

Oct. 2000: (Holly) Warlick recalled a game from her playing days, a particularly poor effort against South Carolina. Afterward, the players' sweaty uniforms were gathered together and thrown in a bag.

Those uniforms never left that bag after the team arrived home. They marinated until the next day, when they were fished out to serve as the day's workout attire.

"It was pretty gross," Warlick said.

It's a good story. However, it's not a good practice. Not anymore.

"You could not do that today," Warlick said. "Some parent would be all up in arms. That would be considered cruelty."

Actually, the punishment was cruel then, too. It wasn't so much a different time as it was different people involved. -- Dan Fleser

Warlick is a good example. She was a three-time All-American, but said she wasn't highly recruited. She described herself as an overachiever, much like the rest of her teammates.

What distinguished Warlick from her peers was that she was driven harder than anyone else. She saw that as her role, her duty.

"If you don't handle it, it's going to affect the whole team," Warlick said in describing her thinking. "She (Summitt) knew that. She'd push me to the limit and the team would follow. It was motivation to me." -- Dan Fleser

Feb. 2004: It was quite a celebration, one marking Pat Summitt's 30 years of coaching the Lady Vols basketball team and 25 years of very welcome support by the Lady Vol Boost-Her Club. It's been a winning combination, definitely something to cheer about.

Lady Vols enthusiasts were on hand at the Knoxville Convention Center on a Saturday night past to honor Pat, to celebrate the milestones of time and to raise money for all the disciplines that make up the Lady Vols sports program at UT. The event netted $178,000 for scholarships.

With six national championships and 22 SEC tournament and regular-season championships under her belt, together with her current record of having the most wins (in excess of 800) of any active collegiate coach, Pat has become an icon at a young age, a role model for women and a legend in her own time.

She has certainly earned a place in the annals of women's basketball, having been an inaugural inductee into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999, then being enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. Additionally she was named the Naismith "Coach of the Century" in 2000, and her basketball team was selected "Team of the Century," and there have been many other accolades along the way. -- Barbara Aston Walsh.

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