I recently did some research to determine how many ‘famous’ people there are with roots in Tennessee. Besides Davy Crockett, there is quite a list of people who are, or have been, part of the Volunteer State. I thought it would be a fun way to learn a little of the history of this great State and provide an interesting series.
Pat Summit: Head Coach, University of Tennessee Ladies Basketball
Pat Summit is the Head Coach of the Lady Vols (Volunteers) Basketball Team. She was born and raised in Tennessee and she is extremely well known and well respected all over the United States. She has been the Lady Vol’s head coach since 1974 and has 8 national championship banners in the rafters.
Coach Summitt is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history (men or women) with 913 victories. She hit the 1,000 victory mark in the 2008-9 season. Her record is 1005 -193. For just about 4 decades she kept the Lady Vols in the winner’s circle, the best of the best, what more could you ask from a coach! She is dedicated to her sport and her team.
During her time as coach the Lady Vols have won eight NCAA titles as well as 27 Southeastern Conference tournament and regular season championships. The Lady Vols made 28 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament, which is quite a feat in. Basketball success doesn’t stop there as Coach Summitt produced a dozen Olympians as well as 19 Kodak All-Americans named to 33 different teams over her career. She is responsible for 72 All-SEC performers and 46 international participants going on to further basketball success. Forty-three of her players became professional basketball players representing the ABL, WNBA or overseas teams.
Along with the success on the court, Summitt’s girls have tremendous ability and productivity in the classroom as well. Coach Summitt has a 100 percent graduation rate for all Lady Vols who have completed their eligibility at the University of Tennessee. I don’t think she allows anything less than perfection on and off the court.
Born June 14, 1952, basketball was her life growing up. She went to the University of Tennessee-Martin where she became an All-American playing for their first female head coach. That could be where she got her inspiration to be a head coach.
She married in 1980 and divorced in 2007. The marriage produced one son, Ross Tyler, and he was often spotted in the stands during games or helping Coach Summitt cut down the net after winning a championship!
My husband is not a sports fan and he couldn’t name a pro basketball coach if you paid him, other than one. He does know the name Pat Summit and even he is impressed with her. We never made it to a game when we lived a close to Knoxville, and I am sorry I didn’t get to see her in action other than on television. When you watch her coach you can’t help but respect her and be a little afraid of her at the same time!
The list of Coach Pat Summitt’s accomplishments is endless. Players and coaches alike respect her. She can yell and give looks that let her players know she means business. She can also stand on the sidelines and smirk when the game is going her way. And she has a smile as big as the sky when she looks up at those banners, the banners she helped put there in Thompson Boling Arena at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee.