Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Summitt and Dorrance

Pat Summitt might have left North Carolina with Tennessee's first loss of the season, but the Lady Vols' longtime coach didn't go home empty-handed.

Summitt has six NCAA titles on her résumé, and when compared to most of her peers, she's at the top of the list. That is, except when she's rubbing elbows with UNC women's soccer coach Anson Dorrance.

Summitt, known as a tireless learner, asked to sit in on Dorrance's locker room pregame speech as the Tar Heels prepared to take the field in the women's soccer national championship game Sunday in Cary, N.C. In town to face the UNC women's hoops team later that night in nearby Chapel Hill, N.C., Summitt -- dressed head-to-toe in an orange Tennessee sweat suit -- listened in as Dorrance addressed his team just moments before the Tar Heels kicked off the title game against Notre Dame.

During a pregame interview Sunday night at Carmichael Auditorium, Summitt told ESPN's Rebecca Lobo she asked to listen in because Summitt "wants to learn from the best." And that just might be Dorrance. On Sunday, his Tar Heels collected their 18th NCAA title. In 28 seasons, Dorrance's teams are 629-28-18.

So what did Summitt, who said she has known Dorrance for some time and just finished reading his second book, take away from the locker room talk?

"His speech was serious with the right amount of humor," Summitt told Lobo. "Even before a national championship game, his humor struck me because he had the right balance."

The adoration appears to be mutual.

"For our kids, a lot of them when they were kids were basketball players as well," Dorrance told Lobo. "So it was a thrill for all of us to have her in there and we loved it."

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