UPDATE: Tenessee defeated Kansas Saturday 84-73 to reach the Elite Eight round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. However, Baylor dismantled Tennessee 77-58 on Monday night ending the season for the Lady Vols and their head coach Pat Summitt.
In Sweet 16 action at the women’s NCAA tournament on Saturday, Stanford will face South Carolina and St. John’s will take on Duke in Fresno. In Des Moines, apparently invulnerable Baylor will play Georgia Tech, and Kansas will try to derail Tennessee. Should Kansas succeed, it might be the last game for Tennessee Head Coach Pat Summitt. She announced in August that she was battling early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Her assistants have taken on a lot of the responsibility for running the team, and assistant coach Holly Warlick has been handling most of the media responsibilities.
Tennessee hired Pat Summitt in 1974. Experience? She was a good player. When I spoke to her in 2003, Summitt acknowledged that these days, somebody in the position she’d been in then would be an unlikely head coaching candidate.
“Wouldn’t even get an interview,” she said. “You always hear life’s about timing, and obviously for Pat Summitt, it was great timing.”
Summitt has coached Tennessee teams to eight NCAA Championships and to 1095 wins against just 207 losses. She’s won every available award and distinction multiple times, and scores of her players have gone into coaching. Whether or not she continues, no coach has had as great an impact on the women’s game as Pat Summitt. And did I mention that no woman … or man … has presided over as many wins?