Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pat Summitt in hospital since Sunday

Former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt is expected to be released Tuesday afternoon from a Knoxville hospital, where she has been since Sunday for what her foundation describes as "routine medical testing."

The Pat Summitt Foundation said Tuesday on Twitter that Summitt had entered a hospital late Sunday. Foundation spokeswoman Susan Arp confirmed the information in the tweet to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Arp didn't offer details on which hospital Summitt entered or the nature of her tests.

Summitt, who led the Lady Vols to eight national titles and 1,098 wins in 38 seasons, stepped down in April 2012 after announcing a year earlier she had early-onset dementia, Alzheimer's type. She remains on Tennessee's staff as head coach emeritus.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pat Summitt Plaza Dedication Date Set

Statue of NCAA’s Winningest Coach To Be Unveiled November 22

The University of Tennessee announced Wednesday that the dedication of the Pat Summitt Plaza and Statue will take place at 11:00 a.m. on November 22.

The dedication and unveiling of the bronze statue, created by internationally known artist and sculptor David Adickes of Houston, Texas, will be held at the soon-to-be-completed plaza on the corner of Lake Loudoun Boulevard and Phillip Fulmer Way. The public is invited to attend, and nearby Thompson-Boling Arena will offer access to restrooms.

Approximately 550 donors have stepped forward to provide financial support for the project thus far, with leadership gifts coming from the LaPorte family of Elizabethton, Tennessee, and Houston, Texas, and the Hilleary family of Spring City, Tennessee. The LaPortes donated the statue, while the Hillearys provided the lead gift for the plaza in honor of Bill Hilleary, a community and business leader from Rhea County.

View of photo gallery of the work being done on Pat Summitt Plaza on utsports.com.

Parking will be available in the G-10 garage, located between Thompson-Boling Arena and Neyland Stadium. Access to G-10 will be via Neyland Drive only. Spaces for vehicles with handicap placards will be available in staff lot 23, located at the corner of Neyland and Lake Loudoun Blvd.

UT visitors and employees should be aware of temporary street closings for the dedication. Phillip Fulmer Way will close at 9:00 a.m. on November 22 from the Andy Holt Tower administrative parking garage entrance to the intersection with Lake Loudoun Boulevard. At 10:30 a.m., Lake Loudoun Boulevard will close from Neyland Drive to Volunteer Boulevard. UTPD will manage traffic and crowd control for the event and will reopen streets when the crowd has dissipated following the event.

Summitt, the winningest coach in NCAA men’s or women’s basketball history, led the Tennessee women’s basketball program from 1974 to 2012. During her thirty-eight-year tenure, the Lady Vols posted a 1,098-208 record (.840), won eight NCAA National Championships, and claimed a combined thirty-three SEC regular season and tournament titles while graduating all 122 players who completed their eligibility at UT.

For more information on how to contribute to the project, go to www.patsummittplaza.com.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Pat Summitt documentary now available on DVD

The ESPN Films documentary “Pat XO,” about former Lady Vols’ coach Coach Pat Summitt that aired in July, is available on DVD. Click here to order.

Directed by Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern Winters and produced by Robin Roberts, “Pat XO” tells the story of Summitt’s life and coaching career.

The documentary takes the camera from the filmmaker’s hands and places it into those who know her best.

The archival footage and statistical records woven into the film provide their own insights into a woman who cared about winning but also about elevating her players and her university.

With son Tyler Summitt as the lead storyteller, recollections are shared by Summitt’s assistant coaches, including current Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick and assistant Dean Lockwood as well as former players such as Chamique Holdsclaw, Tamika Catchings and Michelle Marciniak, UConn coach Geno Auriemma, former UT quarterback Peyton Manning and Vols fan Kenny Chesney.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Lady Vols ready to compete for championships again

Tennessee considers the opportunity to play for a national title in its home state the perfect chance to end its Final Four drought.

The Lady Vols opened practice this week with five of their top six scorers back from a team that went 27-8 last year and lost in a regional final for the third straight season. After overachieving in the first season of the post-Pat Summitt era, Tennessee believes it's ready to start competing for national titles again.

Tennessee hasn't reached a Final Four since its 2008 national championship, the Lady Vols' longest absence from that event since the NCAA started running the tournament in 1982. This year's Final Four takes place in Nashville, about a three-hour drive from Tennessee's campus.

"It does feel a little bit different because our goal is just right up the street," senior guard Meighan Simmons said Tuesday. "It's one of those things where we have to pay attention to detail and not think too far ahead of ourselves."

The high expectations represent a change from last year, when Southeastern Conference coaches picked Tennessee to finish fifth in the league. Tennessee instead won the SEC regular-season title.

"I think we have a great chance of winning the entire thing," junior forward Cierra Burdick said. "I think we have an awesome opportunity to go to Nashville and compete in that Final Four and bring it on home to Knoxville."

Tennessee coach Holly Warlick embraces these ambitious goals. She started talking to her players about the possibility of getting to Nashville almost as soon as their 2012-13 season ended with a surprising 86-78 loss to Louisville in the Oklahoma City Regional final.

The Lady Vols, who have won eight national championships during Summitt's 38-year tenure, adopted the slogan "Grind For Nine" as they began preseason workouts Monday with a 6 a.m. workout.

"We're not trying to hide it," Warlick said. "We want to be there. We need to be there. You just talk about it. It's part of this program. It's part of the foundation Pat built. You don't shy away from competition and you approach things. It is what it is. We've got to go out and compete and make sure that we have a chance to be in Nashville."

The Lady Vols welcome back 2013 SEC newcomer of the year Bashaara Graves as well as Simmons, an Associated Press All-America third-team selection last season. Tennessee also adds one of the nation's most highly touted freshmen in 6-foot-6 post player Mercedes Russell, who should team up with Graves and 6-3 junior Isabelle Harrison to give Tennessee a formidable collection of post players.

"I think hands down we have the best frontcourt in the country," Burdick said.

Tennessee's backcourt returns Simmons and junior Ariel Massengale, last year's starting point guard. Redshirt freshman Andraya Carter started five of Tennessee's first seven games last year before a torn labrum in her right shoulder ended her season. The backcourt also adds freshman Jordan Reynolds.

Tennessee is spending the preseason working on its conditioning and defense. Conditioning could prove critical because Tennessee's roster includes only 10 players. Warlick constantly stresses that rebounding and defense have been the hallmarks of Tennessee's title winners.

Simmons, the Lady Vols' lone senior, believes this group is capable of being Tennessee's next championship team.

"For my senior year, this is the last go-around," Simmons said. "I've got to grind it out for the ninth championship because I know I don't want to leave without a championship."