Jun 20, 2011
Summitt Inducted Into Tennessee Hall Of Fame

Bill Haslam stood in the back of a small banquet room at the Nashville Airport Marriott on Friday morning. The governor would typically be the center of attention of a meet and greet like this.

Instead, the focus was on the front of the room, where more than 100 people packed into a line to have pictures taken with Pat Summitt, the iconic University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach.

The scene raised a question: What if Summitt ran for governor?

“If she does, I’m toast, Haslam said with a laugh. And I’m not just saying that politically. No. 1, because she is so well loved. But secondly, she’d be good.”

Summitt’s legacy continued to grow Friday when she was inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame, which is run by the Tennessee Economic Council on Women. It is not based on athletic success, but rather on “exceptional accomplishments and devotion to improving the economic status of women and girls in Tennessee, according to the group.

Summitt, who turned 59 on Tuesday, has long been known to never brag on herself, but there were plenty of others willing to credit her for spearheading the rise of women’s athletics, being successful in all areas of life, and becoming an international icon on and off the court.

For me growing up in Tennessee, she was one of the classiest women you could see and use as an example, said N.C. State women’s basketball Coach Kellie Harper, 34, who played on three national title teams under Summitt in the late 1990s. She has an air about her. It doesn’t matter how many games she’s won, you can tell this woman has the ‘it factor’ when she walks into a room. She’s impressive to any person.”

Summitt’s coaching dominance has been well documented. She is entering her 38th season as head coach and has won eight national titles. She has won more games (1, 071) than any coach in men’s or women’s college basketball history. But her ability to put women’s college athletics on the map and positively affect girls and women of all ages is what Summitt considers her greatest victory.

“It’s all about people. We’re in a people business, Summitt said. That’s why I like coaching, to try and help these young student-athletes become grown women who can go out and do whatever they want to do.”

Making a difference

Summitt credits her parents for her longtime desire to help others, including speaking with girls and young women about setting goals and what it takes to reach them. She was born in Clarksville and grew up with three brothers and one sister. Her 85-year-old mother, Hazel, attended Friday’s event. Summitt’s father, Richard Head, died six years ago.”I feel like that’s part of what I need to do, and it’s part of who I am, Summitt said. My dad lives on in all of us. We were really, really grounded.”

Those who know her best are not surprised by the impact Summitt has made. Joan Cronan has been UT’s women’s athletic director since 1983. On June 9, after the resignation of men’s athletic director Mike Hamilton, Cronan was named interim athletic director for all Vols sports.

“Obviously there have been a lot of words to describe Pat, Cronan said. She’s very competitive; she’s very compassionate. She communicates so well. The only word I can think about that describes her best is she’s an icon. Not only in the state of Tennessee, but across the nation.”

Cronan’s best example of Summitt’s reach comes when traveling outside of the state. When a stranger asks Cronan what she does, she responds by saying she works for the University of Tennessee.

“I don’t even have to say athletics, or that I’m the women’s athletic director, Cronan said. They all say, ‘Do you know Pat Summitt?’ And when I say I’m her boss, people say, ‘Golly. Does she stare at you the way she stares on the sideline?’ “

Cronan said she always gets a kick out of it, but she is quick to describe why Summitt is so highly regarded.

“She doesn’t want people to call her Coach Summitt. She’s Pat, Cronan said. That’s always what impresses me. She wants to get to know you and make a difference in people’s lives.”

It is best seen during the Lady Vols annual basketball camp, which has been going on this month in Knoxville. More than 600 girls will have attended the camp when it concludes this weekend.

Holly Warlick is the associate head coach under Summitt and has been on Summitt’s staff for 26 seasons. Each year at every camp, Warlick said, Summitt has one-on-one conversations with each girl and talks about life goals.

“Pat is so much beyond a basketball coach, Warlick said. I think girls see her as a basketball coach, but when she speaks with them, they see her as a woman who wants girls to have the same opportunity as little boys. That’s one of the greatest things Pat has done.”

‘so inspirational’

One of those who have been inspired is Rachel Piper of Hendersonville. Today is her 21st birthday, and she attended Friday’s event as a gift from her grandparents, who also attended. Piper, a rising senior at UT, had never met Summitt but had her picture taken with the legendary coach as they shared a few words.

“She’s very inspiring, Piper said. I went to UT-Martin my first year in college, just like Coach Summitt. She’s like a God there. Like me, she’s from a small town and went to a small school. She’s built all these hopes and dreams for girls to aspire to. She is so inspirational. You can look up to her because of her beliefs and ideals.”

It isn’t just the younger generations who continue to be inspired.

“She broke the mold; she stepped out there and did it, said Anita Dorrell, 63, of Brentwood. I went to one of her first games and said, ‘Why can’t I do something like that?’ Even now, and I’m in my 60s, it still drives me.”

And it still impresses her admirers, from little girls to the state’s most powerful politician.

“The truth is, Pat would be a great leader of anything, Haslam said. If she was the CEO of a business, she’d be great. If she was a lawyer, she’d end up working for the Supreme Court. If she was a principal, her school would be the best one in the district.”

And Haslam already knows what may happen should Summitt be intrigued by politics.

Summitt Inducted Into Tennessee Hall Of Fame

The Tennessean, Bryan Mullen

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20110618/SPORTS0601/306180044/Pat-Summitt-s-impact-goes-far-beyond-court

Bill Haslam stood in the back of a small banquet room at the Nashville Airport Marriott on Friday morning. The governor would typically be the center of attention of a meet and greet like this.

Instead, the focus was on the front of the room, where more than 100 people packed into a line to have pictures taken with Pat Summitt, the iconic University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach.

The scene raised a question: What if Summitt ran for governor?

“If she does, I’m toast, Haslam said with a laugh. And I’m not just saying that politically. No. 1, because she is so well loved. But secondly, she’d be good.”

Summitt’s legacy continued to grow Friday when she was inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame, which is run by the Tennessee Economic Council on Women. It is not based on athletic success, but rather on “exceptional accomplishments and devotion to improving the economic status of women and girls in Tennessee, according to the group.

Summitt, who turned 59 on Tuesday, has long been known to never brag on herself, but there were plenty of others willing to credit her for spearheading the rise of women’s athletics, being successful in all areas of life, and becoming an international icon on and off the court.

For me growing up in Tennessee, she was one of the classiest women you could see and use as an example, said N.C. State women’s basketball Coach Kellie Harper, 34, who played on three national title teams under Summitt in the late 1990s. She has an air about her. It doesn’t matter how many games she’s won, you can tell this woman has the ‘it factor’ when she walks into a room. She’s impressive to any person.”

Summitt’s coaching dominance has been well documented. She is entering her 38th season as head coach and has won eight national titles. She has won more games (1, 071) than any coach in men’s or women’s college basketball history. But her ability to put women’s college athletics on the map and positively affect girls and women of all ages is what Summitt considers her greatest victory.

“It’s all about people. We’re in a people business, Summitt said. That’s why I like coaching, to try and help these young student-athletes become grown women who can go out and do whatever they want to do.”

Making a difference

Summitt credits her parents for her longtime desire to help others, including speaking with girls and young women about setting goals and what it takes to reach them. She was born in Clarksville and grew up with three brothers and one sister. Her 85-year-old mother, Hazel, attended Friday’s event. Summitt’s father, Richard Head, died six years ago.”I feel like that’s part of what I need to do, and it’s part of who I am, Summitt said. My dad lives on in all of us. We were really, really grounded.”

Those who know her best are not surprised by the impact Summitt has made. Joan Cronan has been UT’s women’s athletic director since 1983. On June 9, after the resignation of men’s athletic director Mike Hamilton, Cronan was named interim athletic director for all Vols sports.

“Obviously there have been a lot of words to describe Pat, Cronan said. She’s very competitive; she’s very compassionate. She communicates so well. The only word I can think about that describes her best is she’s an icon. Not only in the state of Tennessee, but across the nation.”

Cronan’s best example of Summitt’s reach comes when traveling outside of the state. When a stranger asks Cronan what she does, she responds by saying she works for the University of Tennessee.

“I don’t even have to say athletics, or that I’m the women’s athletic director, Cronan said. They all say, ‘Do you know Pat Summitt?’ And when I say I’m her boss, people say, ‘Golly. Does she stare at you the way she stares on the sideline?’ ”

Cronan said she always gets a kick out of it, but she is quick to describe why Summitt is so highly regarded.

“She doesn’t want people to call her Coach Summitt. She’s Pat, Cronan said. That’s always what impresses me. She wants to get to know you and make a difference in people’s lives.”

It is best seen during the Lady Vols annual basketball camp, which has been going on this month in Knoxville. More than 600 girls will have attended the camp when it concludes this weekend.

Holly Warlick is the associate head coach under Summitt and has been on Summitt’s staff for 26 seasons. Each year at every camp, Warlick said, Summitt has one-on-one conversations with each girl and talks about life goals.

“Pat is so much beyond a basketball coach, Warlick said. I think girls see her as a basketball coach, but when she speaks with them, they see her as a woman who wants girls to have the same opportunity as little boys. That’s one of the greatest things Pat has done.”

‘so inspirational’

One of those who have been inspired is Rachel Piper of Hendersonville. Today is her 21st birthday, and she attended Friday’s event as a gift from her grandparents, who also attended. Piper, a rising senior at UT, had never met Summitt but had her picture taken with the legendary coach as they shared a few words.

“She’s very inspiring, Piper said. I went to UT-Martin my first year in college, just like Coach Summitt. She’s like a God there. Like me, she’s from a small town and went to a small school. She’s built all these hopes and dreams for girls to aspire to. She is so inspirational. You can look up to her because of her beliefs and ideals.”

It isn’t just the younger generations who continue to be inspired.

“She broke the mold; she stepped out there and did it, said Anita Dorrell, 63, of Brentwood. I went to one of her first games and said, ‘Why can’t I do something like that?’ Even now, and I’m in my 60s, it still drives me.”

And it still impresses her admirers, from little girls to the state’s most powerful politician.

“The truth is, Pat would be a great leader of anything, Haslam said. If she was the CEO of a business, she’d be great. If she was a lawyer, she’d end up working for the Supreme Court. If she was a principal, her school would be the best one in the district.”

And Haslam already knows what may happen should Summitt be intrigued by politics.






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