Saturday, January 24, 2009

NYTIMES has great profile of the coach who is producing so many coaches: UT's Pat Summit

The Tennessee Lady Vols play unbeaten Auburn tomorrow as legendary head coach Pat Summitt plays for victory No. 999.

But as The Times points out, she wins without even her team playing. A third of her former players have become coaches themselves.

Here's why, according to The Times:

To play for Summitt is to feel her glare everywhere. She has certain nonnegotiable rules, like requiring her players to sit in the first three rows at class. When they are broken, she has a way of finding out. Even after her players leave, Summitt keeps an eye on them. When Caldwell’s Bruins lost at home to Oregon, 73-56, Summitt called afterward to offer encouragement.

Some coaches come into their athletes’ lives for a few seasons, but when the wind blows, they fall away like leaves. Caldwell said she hoped to emulate Summitt, who lodges into her players’ lives like a root, providing steady nourishment.
“Pat just has a balance,” Caldwell said. “She makes time for people. She treats her players like family. It’s really admirable.”

In December, after several weeks of tending to her dying father, Barbre Singleton consented to taking him off a ventilator. Ten minutes later, she was outside her father’s room, gathering her emotions, when her cellphone rang. It was Summitt, whom she had not spoken to in a while.

“I just want you to know I’m thinking about you,” said Summitt, whose team was preparing for a game later in the day. Recalling the conversation, Barbre Singleton said, “You don’t know what that meant to me.”

Pat Summitt is a national treasure, and obviously a winner off the court. We are very blessed to have her in Tennessee and for our children to learn from her example of discipline and love.

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