Pat Summitt donned a different hat Thursday, going from legendary Lady Vols basketball head coach to cheerleader for a fledgling organization for children.
Summitt was the keynote speaker for a $100-a-plate fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of North Anderson County.
“Obviously, it’s such a great program,” Summitt said. “My passion is making a difference for young people.”
She joined about 350 attendees in paying tribute to 10 of Anderson County’s most distinguished current and former residents.
The occasion was the inaugural Anderson County Hall of Fame.
Each year, the club plans to honor citizens who have made a difference in areas ranging from coach to athlete, from elected official to educator, said the club’s executive director, Beth Farrow.
Area residents nominated candidates, Farrow said. A five-member committee not affiliated with the club picked the honorees, she said.
Thursday’s event brought together the state’s education commissioner, well-known athletes who excelled in University of Tennessee sports, attorneys and doctors.
There was Larry Seivers, now of Knoxville, who snagged enough football passes for the Vols two decades ago to win All America and All SEC honors.
While Seivers won for male athlete, attorney Dail Cantrell was recognized for his years of coaching.
Cantrell mentors volleyball players at Anderson County High School and has coached mock trial teams of aspiring lawyers in Anderson and Clinton high schools.
There was even a father-and-daughter team of honorees. Dr. Curtis Sexton, who has served on many civic and medical organizations, was recognized for his volunteer spirit. His daughter, Shelley Sexton Collier, who was captain of Summitt’s 1987 national championship Lady Vols team, was recognized for her athletic prowess.
n Lana Seivers, the state’s education commissioner and a former director of Clinton City Schools, K-8 educator.
n Joe A. Hollingsworth, who has built a vast business empire, recognized as a business leader.
n Dr. Paul Spray, who volunteered his expertise as an orthopedic surgeon in third-world countries for years, philanthropist.
n Dr. John S. Burrell, recognized for his stints in elected positions ranging from Lake City vice mayor to chairman of the Anderson County School Board.
n James E. Medley, who teaches history at Anderson County High, educator in grades 9-12.
n Gene Wright, a teacher, coach and administrator in local schools for nearly 40 years, won the lifetime achievement recognition.
Farrow said the event was expected to raise between $25,000 and $30,000 for the 2-year-old club, which meets at Lake City Elementary School and now has 175 members.