Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tennessee spirit fest: Summitt looking to best Pearl's body paint

After the way Tennessee men's coach Bruce Pearl showed his support for the Lady Vols, women's coach Pat Summitt is mulling a way to repay him for his enthusiasm.

After all, Summitt was cheerleader for the Cheatham County High School boys team while starring on the girls team.

Pearl made good on a promise to paint himself orange and cheer in the student section for the women's game against No. 1 Duke on Monday. He wore a black headband and black shorts _ but no shirt _ and painted his torso orange with a light blue ''V'' on his chest and an ''L'' on his back.

He stood in front of the student section with his son, Steven, a walk-on freshman, three other players and a manager to spell out the messages ''GO VOLS'' on their chests and ''LADY'' on their backs. Summitt shook hands with Pearl before the game, and he kissed her on the cheek.

''I don't know that I can match it,'' Summitt said Wednesday. ''I thought it was great. I think it shows his passion not only for his program, but he's been a great friend to our program. We've worked very well together.''

Pearl's picture and video of him cheering have been hot on the Internet, in newspapers and on television.

''We got great exposure too, didn't we?'' Summitt said.

During a joint radio show last week when Pearl pitched the idea, Summitt didn't seem enthusiastic about being painted like Pearl even though some female fans have worn sports bras and painted over it.

''I told him I needed to think of something but I'm not quite as creative as Bruce is,'' Summitt said. ''If you guys have any suggestions _ I think (team spokeswoman) Debby (Jennings) and I may come up with something.''

The next men's game at home that will be on television is Feb. 6 against LSU. Kentucky comes to Knoxville on Feb. 13 and Florida comes on Feb. 27.

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