Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Lady Vols Basketball Hits Hardcourt for First Time

New NCAA Rules Allow Up To Four Hours of Full Team Practice Before Oct. 14

Head coach Pat Summitt welcomed one new freshman and 10 returning players to the court in Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday morning for the Lady Vols' first full-team practice. The session will be one of many during the next few weeks before the season officially begins on Oct. 14.

In previous years, the NCAA did not allow full-team practices to begin until mid-October. Instead, no more than four players could be on the court with coaches at one time and groups were limited to two hours of practice each week during the off-season. The new NCAA rules ( (E) and allow for more than four members of a women's basketball team to practice up to four hours a week during the off-season months of the academic school year.

"The ladies had great energy today," said Summitt. "The communication was key, and I could definitely see an improvement in their physical condition. They had an incredible off-season in the weight room."

The majority of the team remained in Knoxville this summer to attend summer classes, during that time they worked especially hard on conditioning and strength.

Head strength and conditioning coach Heather Mason noticed the difference as well. "I am excited to see them take the intensity they showed me this summer in the weight room onto the court today," said Mason. "They all worked very hard during the off-season, and they showed the results in this morning's practice."

Sidney Spencer, still nursing a knee injury, worked on cardio fitness by riding the exercise bike during the non-controlled types of team exercises.

"Overall they looked good," said head athletic trainer Jenny Moshak. "We're still dealing with some recovering injuries, especially ones that prevent the athletes from full contact, non-controlled exercises. We are working on adjusting from off-court rehab to in-season practices. Sidney still needs to get a bit stronger. She and I have Oct. 14 as a goal date for her to be fully released."

Freshman Lindsey Moss also spent much of today's practice on the sidelines with Moshak and her staff.

"Lindsey has a mild strain of her hamstring," said Moshak. "It's nothing to be overly concerned about at this point, but we want to be conservative nonetheless."

Candace Parker and Alex Fuller, the first two Lady Vol basketball players to be red-shirted during the Pat Summitt era, participated in the full practice. Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood was also healthy throughout the two-hour session.

"We got about a week's worth of work done today," said assistant coach Holly Warlick. "The energy and intensity was outstanding, which was very encouraging. It was also great to see those who were injured last year be able to make a full practice." The practice featured a lot of transition work, as well as baseline and perimeter shooting drills.

"We'll continue to do a lot of teaching and skill work in the next few weeks," said Summitt, "but this already feels more like a veteran team."

Friday, August 19, 2005

Knoxville Hall inducts 10

The Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame grew by 10 Thursday night.

The Hall's annual induction drew a large class and an even larger crowd; some 1400 people attended the banquet.

The inductees were: Bill Bates, Ted Davis, Fred Gladding, Steve Golliher, Jeff Gollier, Gary Lundy, Reggie McKenzie, Raleigh McKenzie, Pat Shires, and Faye Rogers Stafford.

In addition, Tim Mack was honored as the pro athlete of the year, Anthony McAlister and Cade Thompson the male high school athletes of the year, and Erin Ogan was the female high school athlete of the year.

The Hall also had a special recognition for Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt.

Former Notre Dame and South Carolina head coach Lou Holtz was the featured speaker.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Graduate Assistants Join Lady Vol Basketball Staff :: Angel Elderkin and Pam Owens will help out the Lady Vols this year

University of Tennessee Lady Vol Head Coach Pat Summitt announced Wednesday the addition of Angel Elderkin and Pam Owens as basketball graduate assistants for the 2005-06 campaign. The two join a program that went 30-5 last season and reached the NCAA Final Four for the fourth consecutive year.

"Pam Owens and Angel Elderkin are two of the most experienced graduate assistants we have ever had in our program," said Summitt. "Angel has Division I experience and Pam has been coaching on the high school level for the past 16 years. Both Pam and Angel are excited about the opportunity to work in the Lady Vol basketball program, and we are thrilled that they are joining our staff and the Lady Vol family."

Elderkin comes to Rocky Top after four years as an assistant coach at Siena College, where she was an integral part of recruiting some of the best classes in program history at Siena. In addition to her recruiting responsibilities at Siena, Elderkin also oversaw academics for the Saints. She helped to coordinate study hall, tutoring and monitoring the academic progress for the student-athletes. Her primary on-court assignment was working with the back court.

Prior to her stint at Siena, Elderkin spent two seasons at East Tennessee State, where she served as a special assistant to the head coach. There, she oversaw many aspects of the women's basketball operation, including the coordination of summer camps and working with the compliance office.

"I am really excited to be a part of the Lady Vol family," said Elderkin. "The opportunity to learn from Coach Summitt and her staff is going to be an invaluable experience and a great addition to my coaching career."

Elderkin was a four-year letter-winning guard for the University of Southern Maine women's basketball team. She led the Huskies to three conference championships and an astounding 104-15 overall record. In 1998, the Huskies were the national runner-up. She helped lead her team to the Division III NCAA Tournament during each of her four years. Elderkin also played on the softball team from 1996-1998.

She was a two-time recipient of the William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete Award and in 1997 was named to the All-Little East Honor Roll. Most recently, her 1997-98 Husky basketball team was inducted into the New England Hall of Fame (September 2004).

Elderkin earned her bachelor's degree in sociology from Southern Maine in 1999 with a minor in education. She received her master of arts in physical education and exercise science from East Tennessee State in 2001.

Pam Owens joins the program after spending eight years as the head coach at Taft High School in San Antonio, Texas. She guided the Taft program to six Region IV-5A Tournaments in seven seasons and three state tournaments in the past four campaigns. Prior to her stint at Taft, she spent two years coaching at Bandera High School. Owens' career record is 264-79.

"This is an unbelievable opportunity," said Owens. "I've been coaching high school for 16 years and to have the opportunity to work with Coach Summit and her staff is like a dream come true for me."

Owens has been a regular at Summitt's clinics through the years and worked one of her camps in Knoxville, Tenn., for the first time last summer. It was then that Summitt, 882-172 in 31 seasons at Tennessee, asked Owens if she would be interested in someday joining her staff as a graduate assistant.

A shooting guard from 1986-88 for the Buckettes, Owens graduated from the University of New Orleans with a bachelor's degree in education. In 1994, she earned her master's from the University of Texas at San Antonio in education and supervision.

Owens and her husband, Joseph, reside in Knoxville.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Lady Vols Release 2005-2006 Hoops Schedule

The Lady Vols Will Tangle With A Number Of Traditional Top Rivals

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The University of Tennessee Lady Volunteer basketball schedule has been finalized for the 2005-06 season.

Besides running the gauntlet of the perennial Southeastern Conference powerhouses, the Lady Vols will also tangle with a number of traditional top rivals, including Connecticut, Texas, Duke, Stanford and Louisiana Tech. In addition, a trip to the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, will find UT facing NCAA runner-up Michigan State, highly-regarded Maryland and a first-ever meeting with Gonzaga.

"Our schedule for the coming season is exciting and challenging," said Lady Vol coach Pat Summitt, who is beginning her 32nd season at Tennessee and is the NCAA's all-time winningest coach starting the season at 882-172. "We have a great blend of youth and experience coming back," continued Summitt. "And we're excited to see a healthy squad out on the court. We can't wait to get started," she said.

Tennessee, third-place finisher at the 2005 NCAA Final Four, opens the 2005-06 campaign at home hosting a pair of exhibition games against Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and nearby Carson Newman College. Dr. Carolyn Savoy, Dalhousie head coach since 1977, studied for her PhD at Tennessee and observed Summitt's teams while working on her doctorate, 1990-92. She brings her Tiger team to Knoxville for the first time for an exhibition.

Following the exhibition tune-ups, the Lady Vols officially open the season at home with back-to-back games on Nov. 20 facing Stetson and on Nov. 21 taking on UT Chattanooga.

"I really wanted us to have some solid game experience before we traveled to the Paradise Jam," related Summitt. "We will be tested early by three outstanding teams in Michigan State, Maryland and Gonzaga. Not only will it be some great basketball games but an exciting adventure for our team, staff and fans to the Virgin Islands during the Thanksgiving break, Nov. 24-26."

Tennessee starts the December portion of its schedule in Knoxville trying to break a four-game losing skein to the University of Texas on Dec. 1 in a game televised by ESPN2. Other home match-ups in the final month of the year will see the Lady Vols facing Louisiana Tech on Dec. 15 and entertaining first-time opponent Princeton on Dec. 20 in Thompson-Boling Arena. UT has four road games in December starting with the "Battle of the Titans" at Stanford on Dec. 7 (ESPN2). The Lady Vols then travel to George Washington University on Dec. 7, Temple University on Dec. 28 and conclude the 2005 portion of the schedule at Notre Dame on New Year's Eve in South Bend, Indiana.

In January, the Lady Vols will face three more non-conference foes before settling into the SEC battle. Old Dominion travels to Knoxville on Jan. 2; later in the week, BIG EAST foe Connecticut visits Thompson-Boling Arena on Jan. 7 (CBS) and finally, the Lady Vols travel to Duke on Jan. 23 (ESPN2).

January is a light SEC month at home for the Lady Vols with only Georgia (Jan. 12) and Alabama (Jan. 29) coming to town. Conference road games in the first month of the year find UT traveling to South Carolina (Jan. 5), Mississippi State (Jan. 15), Vanderbilt (Jan. 19), and Kentucky (Jan. 26).

February is almost the reverse schedule for Tennessee as the Lady Vols will enjoy home games against Arkansas (Feb. 5), an ESPN "Rivalry Week" contest against LSU (Feb. 9, ESPN2), an ESPN "February Frenzy" match-up versus Vanderbilt (Feb. 12, ESPN2), and a pair of home finales against Auburn (Feb. 23) and Florida (Feb. 26). February road trips include jaunts to Mississippi (Feb. 2), Georgia (Feb. 16) and to Alabama (Feb. 19). Tennessee has picked up home-and-home SEC games with Alabama and Georgia this season to go along with its annual home-and-home traditional rival contests versus Vanderbilt.

"It's no surprise that we've taken on another challenging schedule for the coming season," said Summitt. "I'm excited that our fans will get to enjoy such a great line-up of games in Thompson-Boling Arena.

"Once again this year, the SEC - from top to bottom -- will be as strong as it has ever been," professed Summitt. "Not only do I expect to see four SEC teams ranked among the nation's top 10 but there are several teams that are greatly improved, and pushing to get into the top-half of the league. To be sure, the SEC schedule will be extremely challenging."

In the postseason, the 2006 Southeastern Conference Tournament will return to North Little Rock, Ark., Mar. 2-5. While the NCAA festivities kicks-off with First/Second Round games Mar. 18-21 and four NCAA Regionals, Mar. 25-28. The season will culminate with the 2006 NCAA Final Four at the FleetCenter in Boston, Mass., April 2 & 4.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Anosike finds the time to hand down her lessons

Tennessee sophomore leads series of clinics after a busy summer with Team USA

Take one look at Nicky Anosike's resume these days and you couldn't blame her if she wanted to take some down time in the month of August.

When you're a member of perennial powerhouse University of Tennessee women's basketball team and recently completed a trip to Tunis, Tunisia after competing for gold medal-winning Team USA at the under-19 World Championships, a break would appear necessary.

Except Anosike wouldn't hear of it. Instead, the former St. Peter's star has decided to spend time sharing her experiences and teaching the game she loves to youngsters at the PAL Beacon Center-sponsored clinic at Staten Island Tech in New Dorp.

The 6-foot-4 Anosike held the second of her five sessions, dubbed Nicky's Project, yesterday, first for girls 13-and-under and later 16-and-under. Now 19, Anosike demonstrated drills, then observed from midcourt with a stopwatch in hand.

"A lot of people on Staten Island helped me get to where I am today," said Anosike, who averaged 11.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in eight games at the World Championships. "I figured I'd come back and help out as much as I can.

"The PAL Diamonds were the first (team) I ever played competitive ball for and I just thought there was no better way to give back."

PAL borough director Joseph Loughran and Beacon director Tom Marshall couldn't be happier to have the two-time Jaques Award winner on their staff.

"Role model is an over used term, but Nicky fits under that category in its true meaning," said Loughran. "Not only does she have a great work ethic, but she's in high standing academically and she shares it with the children of the Beacon Center."

"The girls are very much into listening to Nicky," added Marshall. "She walks around focusing on each kid and she takes the time to teach them when they make mistakes.

"She's doing a terrific job."

Anosike, who will be a sophomore at Tennessee in the fall, said her experience with the Lady Vols has had a direct impact on the clinic.

"Every drill we do here we do at Tennessee," said Anosike, who currently resides in East Orange, N.J., when she's not at school. "(Tennessee assistant coach) Dean Lockwood gave me a lot of ideas and we've been using drills that I do.

"These kids are young and we want them to be alert and involved."

As successful as Anosike was at St. Peter's, the four-time Advance All Star had to do some learning herself upon joining the Lady Vols last fall. But not only did she wind up averaging 6.7 points and 6.1 rebounds for the Final Four participants, she started the final 21 games.

"By the middle of last season, the (coaching staff) considered me a sophomore, which is great," Anosike said. "But last year, my role was more of being a defensive stopper.

"Now I'm looking to be in more of a scoring-type role this season. I had a meeting with coach (Pat Summitt) and I told her I wanted more of a responsibility.

"She said she trusted me."

Anosike said her experience with Team USA, which was like a college all-star team, will help her prepare herself for next season.

"It was a great experience," she said. "I was motivated because I got cut when I tried out the year before.

"I think the biggest thing was I had more confidence, especially after playing one season of collegiate ball. Playing in the Final Four definitely helped me get ready to play (for Team USA)."

Speaking of the Final Four, Anosike said she's planning on using last year's disappointing finish (a loss to upstart Michigan St. in the semifinals) as a springboard to a strong 2005-05 campaign. In addition to Anosike, the Lady Vols are returning several other key players and will likely make another run for Summitt's seventh national title.

"We've got to finish what we started last season," said the former Parade All-American and Southeast Conference All-Freshmen team member last year. "We let it slip away by looking past Michigan St.

"But no doubt about it. Our goal this season is a national championship and I think we have the team to do it."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Colleagues, teammates remember Gunter's influence

Pokey Chatman had plenty of anecdotes to share about her mentor, but she also knew Sue Gunter would've wanted her to keep it short.

"I could go on and on," Chatman said Monday at Gunter's memorial service. "Sue's still the boss today and she wouldn't like that."

About 500 people gathered at First United Methodist Church to say goodbye to Gunter, who died at her home Thursday. She was 66.

Gunter will have one final service with visitation set from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Wilcox Funeral Home in Carthage, Miss. Interment will follow at Mount Zion Cemetery in her hometown of Walnut Grove, Miss.

"I feel really blessed that Sue Gunter was a part of my life," Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt said. "I'm a better person and obviously a better teacher because of her."

Summitt was among several college coaches in attendance along with Jody Conradt of the University of Texas, Kim Mulkey-Robertson of national champion Baylor and former U.S. Olympic coach Billie Moore.

Chatman and ESPN women's basketball analyst and former Olympian Ann Meyers Drysdale both delivered eulogies.

"To all who knew Sue she was the best friend that anybody could ever have," Meyers Drysdale said. "She was a sister, a mother, a daughter to so many. She died so young. We weren't ready for her to die. But there was one lesson that we did learn was that she was ready and she knew it."

More than 20 of Gunters former players from LSU were on hand. Former All-American point guard Temeka Johnson, a member of the WNBA's Washington Mystics, boarded a plane 6:45 a.m. Monday after a late-night televised game.

"I was at the game, but I wasn't there mentally," Johnson said. "My mind was on coach Gunter the entire time, having to come back and say my last good-bye."

Gunter, whose career also included stops at Middle Tennessee State and Stephen F. Austin, concluded her career as the third winningest coach (708-308) in womens basketball history, trailing only Summitt and Conradt. She also ranks third in games coached (1,016) and sixth in 20-win seasons (22).

Gunter has already been inducted into the Womens Basketball Hall of Fame, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. She will be enshrined in the Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., in September.

Meyers Drysdale, an All-America guard at UCLA, played for Gunter on the 1976 U.S. Olympic team, the start of a 30-year friendship.

Gunter, then an assistant coach to Moore on the U.S. team, carried a notorious habit for smoking and Meyers tried several time to get her to quit.

"I used to hide them or as soon as she put one in her mouth I would break it," Meyers said. "Then Id steal her lighter or blow out the match."

To which Meyers recalled Gunter saying: "Dammit."

Friday, August 05, 2005


Summitt played under Gunter during the 1976 Olympics in Montreal

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - "Sue Gunter was a wonderful friend, an exceptional person and an incredibly talented basketball coach," said Pat Summitt, University of Tennessee Lady Vol head basketball coach, on the passing of her longtime friend on Thurs., Aug. 4, in Baton Rouge, La.

Gunter, head coach at Louisiana State University for 22-years, stepped down from her coaching duties for health reasons during the 2003-04 season. She died this morning at 8:30 a.m. at her home. Gunter was 66-years old.

Summitt, reached in Los Angeles, Calif., where she was speaking at Collegiate Business Conference, was deeply saddened by the news.

"Definitely one of the pioneers of women's collegiate basketball," said Summitt. "She was one of my mentors. Sue was the assistant coach to Billie Moore when I played on the 1976 USA Olympic Team (silver medalist) in Montreal. Four years later, I had the privilege of serving as her assistant when she was named head coach of the 1980 USA Olympic Team to the boycotted Moscow games.

"I learned so much from Sue about the X's and O's of the game of basketball. But more importantly, she taught me about the delicate balance of coaching and teaching the game and the value of great player-coach relationships. She made playing basketball fun due to her ability to connect with her players. Personally, I am going to miss her tremendously and I know the game is going to miss her," concluded Summitt.

Summitt first faced Gunter's teams while she was coaching at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Gunter posted a 2-1 record over Summitt's Tennessee teams during that span. In 1982, Gunter became the head coach at LSU and the two lifelong friends faced each other 30 times on the Southeastern Conference hardwood.

Gunter never made it to the Final Four as a head coach. In the season that she had to step aside for health reasons, interim head coach and former LSU standout Pokey Chatman led the Lady Tigers to the 2004 NCAA Final Four in New Orleans, La., where, ironically, they lost to Summitt and the Tennessee Lady Volunteers, 52-50, on April 4, 2004.

Gunter completed her career among the leaders in several NCAA coaching categories: seasons coached (No. 1 - 40); games coached (No. 3 - 1,016); wins (No. 3 - 708); and 20-win seasons (No. 4 - 22).

Born May 22, 1939, in Leake County, Miss., Gunter was a native of Walnut Grove, Miss. She is preceded in death by her parents, Lovette Golden Gunter and Ivadean Barham Gunter. She is survived by two aunts, cousins and numerous friends and admirers.

According to LSU officials, arrangements are pending for a special visitation service. She will be buried alongside her parents at Mount Zion Cemetery in Walnut Grove, Miss.

Gunter was respected for her contributions to women's sports, however, she was also revered throughout collegiate athletics for her impact on the sport of basketball regardless of gender. She was named as a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000 and will be inducted posthumously into the prestigious Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2005.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Nashville City Paper - Business Calendar

Wednesday, Aug. 17

CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) Southeastern Conference, Wednesday to Friday. “Building on Success,” featuring workshops and a luncheon on Thursday with keynote speaker Pat Summitt. Marriott Nashville at Vanderbilt University, 2555 West End Ave. $149. http://midtin.ccimnet.com or 850-2708