I'm telling myself that it's all in the preposition. Aside, not down. Pat Summitt will be Tennessee women's basketball coach emeritus -- still there for her players; for her staff; for the fans; for anyone who has come to count on her raising funds and awareness in the fight against dementia.
Pat Summitt thanked University of Tennessee staff, players and fans for 38 successful years as the Lady Vols' head coach.
Former University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt got some unexpected news just before meeting with the media to discuss her retirement Thursday.
Pat Summitt walked into the expansive dining room of McAlister's Deli, an eatery on the main level of Thompson-Boling Arena on the southern tip of the University of Tennessee campus. A second-year journalism student at Tennessee, I glanced up from my lunch as the eyes of a dozen restaurant-goers locked onto the iconic women's basketball coach. Summitt strolled over to the table next to mine, pulled out a chair and climbed atop as a hush fell over her audience.
Eight months after revealing her diagnosis with early-onset Alzheimer's, the head coach of the University of Tennessee's women's basketball team announced she was stepping down Wednesday.
Pat Summitt is no longer the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.
We're down to eight teams -- approximately 120 players fighting for a championship. The usual names are still in play: UConn, Stanford, Tennessee.
A look at the biggest college basketball stories of a year that, depending on your preference, belonged to Kemba, Jimmer, Coach K, or mid-major magic. (And we can only hope that, after a scandalous November and December, the sport can produce as much positive drama in 2012's NCAA tournament as it did in 2011's.)
STANFORD, Calif. -- For almost a quarter century the tradition has stood. Pat Summitt and Tara VanDerveer have had a date to play each other, usually in December, on alternating home courts. No contract has been necessary to keep the annual event going. No personality disputes or conflicting schedules have disrupted it.
NEW YORK -- The sparse Madison Square Garden crowd, clearly punch drunk from an 11:00 a.m. tipoff, got its first glimpse of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt late in the second half of top-ranked Baylor's win over St. John. This was the early game of the annual Maggie Dixon women's basketball doubleheader, and when the Lady Vols coach arrived at center court during an extended time out, the crowd of 2,000 or so woke up and cheered.
The career victory numbers -- 1,075 for her, 907 for him, totals that leave every other male and female coach in Division I basketball behind -- only hint at why Sports Illustrated has chosen Mike Krzyzewski and Pat Summitt as its 2011 Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.
About 200,000 Americans are estimated to have early-onset Alzheimer's disease, which means the disease is found before age 65. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, and it a causes significant memory and thinking problems. There is no cure.
Rudolph Tanzi and Henry McCance explain how a venture capital-style funding model helps to fight Alzheimer's disease.
Gary Smith's seminal 1998 'Sports Illustrated' cover story on Pat Summitt opens with a scene eight years earlier of a very-pregnant Summitt sitting in the living room of Michelle Marciniak, then a 16-year-old senior at Allentown (Pa.) Central Catholic High and one of the top prep players in the country. As Smith describes, while sitting with Marciniak and her family, Summitt abruptly announces that she has to immediately leave because of thunderous labor pains. But Summitt isn't interested in going to the hospital. She's heading home. So Michelle and her older brother Steve end up driving Summitt and assistant coach Mickie DeMoss to the airport because the Lady Vols women's basketball coach is determined to have her baby in Tennessee. And she did just that.
Here's the problem with disease.
Pat Summitt has won eight national championships at Tennessee, but that is not her legacy. She has won more than 1,000 games and counting, but that is not her legacy. In the coming days, you will undoubtedly hear dozens of former and current players tell stories about how much Summitt meant to their lives, about the lessons she taught them and the things she made them learn about themselves. You hear that about the very best coaches.
"There's not going to be a pity party," says the 59-year-old Tennessee women's coach
Pat Summitt's lead-melting stare can be seen and feared from the loftiest nosebleed seats of Knoxville's Thompson-Boling Arena. She's a Hall of Fame coach enshrined before the age of 60. She has coached women's basketball at my alma mater for closer to 40 years than 30, and is the most popular coaching face of a metropolis full of fans, athletes and media types who'd throw themselves in front of a speeding train at her most diffident request.
No one can be fully prepared for the battle facing Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, who has been diagnosed with early onset dementia. But it's hard to imagine anyone being better prepared for it than the 59-year-old Hall of Famer. It's not just the cultural challenges and physical obstacles Summitt has overcome -- including, in recent years, rheumatoid arthritis -- on her way to tallying the most wins (1,071) in men's or women's Division I basketball that can give her strength in the seasons ahead. It's also the widespread support group -- an enormous circle of friends and allies all over the country -- she has created throughout her career.
Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt has no plans to stop coaching despite being diagnosed with early onset dementia.
This story was originally published in Feb. 2009.
INDIANAPOLIS -- The defending champion is Texas A&M, and Maya Moore is soon to be a member of the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx. Indeed, we're entering a new era in women's college basketball. While we reserve the right to change these picks come next November, here's SI.com's way-too-early preseason Top 10 for 2011-12 ...
Conventional wisdom went 2-for-4 in the women's NCAA tournament. The story of this year's tournament was supposed to be that any of the No. 1 seeds could win a title, but only two of the top seeds -- the same two that made it to the championship game last year, UConn and Stanford -- are going to get the chance. Both Baylor and Tennessee stumbled in their respective regional finals.
The elite teams of women's basketball have been playing an entertaining game of tag this season.
STANFORD, Calif. -- There is a big gap between the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked women's basketball teams in the nation.
News item: Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt put her team through an intense practice Tuesday, not even two full days after the two-time defending national champs were stunned by Ball State, 71-55, in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
You wouldn't find many folks picking Tennessee to repeat as national champions -- after all, Pat Summitt's group of rookies has hardly been the model of consistency this season. The Lady Vols even entered the tournament at No. 5, their lowest seed ever. Still, you'd have a hard time finding anyone predicting a first-round exit for one of the most storied programs in women's basketball history. On Sunday, though, the Lady Vols made history yet again with a 71-55 loss to 12th-seeded Ball State for their earliest departure from the tournament ever. "All I can hope is that it will be a motivation," Summitt said after the game. "We are only graduating one senior and it's all about what this team decides to do in the offseason."
I was certain Danica Patrick was going to win the Indianapolis 500 Sunday. Just positive. After all, this 2008 is a year, when, surely, women have been more prominent in sports than ever before -- and in every way: good, bad and sad.
Plenty of people have been talking about the relationship between UConn coach Geno Auriemma and Tennessee Pat Summitt, though Auriemma himself says it's not worth talking about. "If all people want to talk about is Pat this and Pat that and Pat said this and Pat said that and Geno this and Geno that, that's a shame," Auriemma said. "And I'm not going to be a part of it. As far as I'm concerned, when I get on the plane and I go to Tampa [the site of the Final Four], I could care less about Pat Summitt, Tennessee, LSU or anybody. I'm worried about Stanford and I'm worried about Connecticut and that's it."
Whatever happens at the women's Final Four in Tampa, Pat Summitt can't escape it: Last year at this time, the Tennessee coach was trying to be like Geno.
You like him. You hate him. And if you are one of the nearly 5,400 people who signed this petition, you want him off the air immediately.
After the season she had a year ago it's hard to believe that Tennessee's Candace Parker, SI's pick for women's player of the year, could improve. In 2006-07 she averaged 19.6 points and 9.8 rebounds, won the Wooden Award as the nation's best player and led the Lady Vols to their seventh national title. But this year she has been even better. She is more refined in her decision-making and a better shooter facing the basket. She's also sharper on defense, having already increased her steals total from last season, and is less inclined to take the occasional play off. She had to be all of those things to emerge from this season's field of POY candidates. It is no easy thing to eclipse, for example, the season of Oklahoma junior forward Courtney Paris, who has chalked up an NCAA record 88 straight and 93 career double doubles, or that of Stanford's prolific senior guard Candice Wiggins, who has scored 2,424 points, surpassing Lisa Leslie's career Pac-10 record.
Nikki Caldwell's got 10 weeks to sell Pat Summitt on the sidecar.
Before I forget, I'm trying to make a list of all the teams around the country (high school, college, women's, etc.) that are using all or part of the trendy offense (known as Dribble-Drive Motion or AASAA) devised by Vance Walberg and used by Memphis these days. If you're a coach who's running it, please send me the name of your school and the town/city where you're located. Thanks!
As the 'Bag gets amped for Wednesday's Sunflower State Showdown between Kansas and Kansas State -- the last undefeated teams in the Big 12 -- we begin this week's column on a note of reader cynicism:
Billy Donovan was finally alone. It was late on the evening of June 1, and all the difficult work was done: the press conferences announcing his departure from the University of Florida to coach the Orlando Magic, the meetings with Magic officials, the phone calls to his Florida players, bosses and staff. With a sigh Donovan collapsed into the chair in his home office, surrounded by the spoils of a triumphant career: photographs of his former players; knickknacks from his Final Four run in 1987 as a guard at Providence; magazine covers celebrating his Gators, one of only two Division I teams in the past 33 years to win back-to-back championships. "For the first time in days there was complete silence," Donovan says. "It was just me and this decision."
Add Bill Clinton to the list of people who want answers to the most vexing questions in women's college basketball. Last May the former president approached Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer at a birthday party in Atlanta for civil rights activist Andrew Young. "He sees me and he says, Come here," recalls Stringer. "I was like, Oh, my God'. Then he put his arm on my shoulder and said, 'Man, I taped those games. I love those games. I was sure you were going to win the game against Tennessee. And you just made short order of LSU.' I said, 'You watched the games?' He said, 'Are you kidding me? I didn't know what you were going to do with Sylvia Fowles?'" Not many people do. How to stop the LSU All-America center is just one of the questions teams will have to answer on the road to the Final Four in Tampa. With the season just underway, let's go around SI's preseason Top 10 to answer some burning questions:
They are the Athens and Sparta of women's college basketball, linked by championship pedigree (12 titles between them), Hall of Fame coaches and an annual game that has been the highlight of the regular season. Until now. For the first time since 1994, Connecticut and Tennessee won't meet during the regular season. "And I don't think they are ever going to play us," says Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma. "Unless somebody makes them play us, I just don't see it. I think in today's day and age, with everyone having a blog, an Internet site and chat rooms, there is a lot of misinformation out there."
It's Labor Day, 85° and sunny, and America's favorite bare-chested basketball coach is the picture of topless satisfaction in orange board shorts, black sunglasses and a white Gilligan hat as he pilots his 29-foot Sea Ray on Fort Loudoun Lake outside Knoxville. The small army onboard, a dozen strong -- including Bruce's four children: Jacqui, 21; Steven, 20; Leah, 12; and Michael, 11 -- is enough to turn the Tennessee coach's rare day off into a five-hour-long Pearl jam.
Before the Tennessee Lady Vols took the court for Tuesday's NCAA title game against Rutgers, they heard a poem from assistant coach and frustrated English major Dean Lockwood about the importance of embracing the warrior mentality. When Lockwood had finished his recital, he picked up a baseball bat and smashed to pieces a videotape of Rutgers' semifinal game, in which the Scarlet Knights embarrassed SEC runner-up LSU 59-35.
Click here for five reasons Rutgers will win
In honor of the official holiday of the 10 Spot, St. Patrick's Day, we'd like to recognize the most prominent Patricks (plus Pats, Paddys and Pattys) in sports history. Erin go bragh!
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