Thursday, April 19, 2012

So long, Pat

Pat Summitt is leaving the position of head coach at UT, turning the reins over officially to her long-time assistant Holly Warlick. We knew this day would come, and it's probably best that it come now, but still ... it's sad. So very sad.

flags at the SummittHer career ends with a 1,098-208 record, 16 regular-season Southeastern Conference championships and 16 SEC tournament titles. During her time, Tennessee never failed to reach the NCAA tournament, never received a seed lower than No. 5 and reached 18 Final Fours. Every Lady Vol player who has completed her eligibility at Tennessee graduated under Summitt, and 74 former players, assistants, graduate assistants, team managers and directors of basketball operations are currently among the coaching ranks at every level of basketball.

In large part, she is responsible for the parity that kept the Lady Vols from the Final Four over the last five years (this year they lost to Baylor, who had an undefeated year), building women's basketball into a force that encouraged other schools to build programs to compete with her. Her legacy is secure.

And her time is not yet over, though this is Holly's team now. As coach emeritus, she will be helping with recruiting, watching practice, joining staff meetings, helping coaches analyze practice and games, and advising the Southeastern Conference on women’s basketball issues and mentoring players - and also working as a spokeswoman in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

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