Adams: Contract adds to new riches for Summitt

The game ended, and the show began at Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday night.

First came the photographers, who raced across the floor so fast you might have wondered if they had been tipped that Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt was planning a sudden getaway after winning her 1,000th game. Then came the confetti.

Up next: dignitaries bearing gifts.

UT-Knoxville chancellor Dr. Jimmy Cheek unveiled an event poster, which will promote the Summitt Legends scholarship fund.

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam presented Summitt with a rendition of the Pat Summitt star, which will become the first star on the Knoxville River Walk.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive gave her a commemorative plaque.

UT men's athletic director Mike Hamilton handed her the game ball from her team's 73-43 victory over Georgia.

UT women's athletic director Joan Cronan presented her with a bracelet and necklace.

Strangely, UT didn't save the best for last. It saved the best for a press release handed out to media following an interview session.

Summitt signed a contract extension this week that will run through 2014, it was announced in the press release. She will earn $1.4 million for this season (an increase of $125,000) and receive a $200,000 bonus for her 1,000 victories.

There's more.

The contract also will include two lifetime achievement bonuses - $500,000 in 2009-10 and a $1 million longevity bonus in 2013-14 to reward her for her 40 years as coach of the Lady Vols.

How's that for looking ahead? And how's that for putting a milestone victory in perspective?

Never mind that Summitt has won 1,000 games and is 35 seasons into her career. She isn't Joe Paterno. She's 56 years old.

There's more to come.

Remember when her 500th victory was a big deal? And 800? How big will 1,000 be in five years?

If Summitt just coaches out the length of her new contract, she will go way past 1,000 victories. But who's counting?

You don't measure her program by victories alone. You measure it by eight national championships and 22 Final Fours. She reminded her fans of that as she thanked them so profusely and gracefully for their support.

"Our goal is to be in St. Louis for the Final Four," Summitt said during the postgame ceremony.

That's a bit heavy-handed by Summitt's standards. After all, Final Fours are as routine as milestone victories for the Lady Vols.

But this season, which follows back-to-back national championships, hasn't been routine. It has been distinguished by too many injuries, too many freshmen and too many double-digit losses.

So what if the team is 17-5 and has lost four games by 10 points or more. Summitt made a point of reminding her players and fans that even in an atypical season, the goals don't change.

"I think (the players) have doubted where we are and where we have to go," Summitt said. "I want them to know that it doesn't matter if we're struggling now, you've got to believe."

On a night when Summitt made history and her team won by 30, believing was easier than it has been all season.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 20

JohnsonCity_George writes:

I'm sure glad Mike Slive was there. Did he pay for his ticket? No, you say. Well, as a VASF member, he owes me an apology.

txvolsfan writes:

Congratulations Coach Summitt, A well deserved milestone!!!!

WeLoveTennesseeVols writes:

It was impressive, I enjoyed it immensely, is this as good as it gets? Thank God for everything. I bet this is as close to greatness that Mr. John Adams gets, this and his Heisman trophy vote. The thing which distinguishes us from John Adams are words, and the thing which distinguishes us from Coach Pat Summitt, are deeds!

joeparr2000#255292 writes:

...adams broke his first jounalistic principle---don't write a nice story....

xd9x19 writes:

Man, it's so amusing to always see the comments bashing just about anything Adams writes. It's sad when supposedly educated and intelligent readers expect a report to always blow smoke up their ____. Grow up.

Keep up the good job, JA!!!

rthestar#368358 writes:

in response to xd9x19:

Man, it's so amusing to always see the comments bashing just about anything Adams writes. It's sad when supposedly educated and intelligent readers expect a report to always blow smoke up their ____. Grow up.

Keep up the good job, JA!!!

dear xd9x19, if you read each article adams does and are a tennessee fan you will better understand the rarity of an article like this one aboutan easy traget, the greatest coach in history. So rare is it that I will challenge you to discover another near its equal in the last or next 30 days...

bobbarbilly writes:

Let's see now...2 million or so for an unproven football coach and I don't know Coach Pearl's contract, but even though he has not brought the Vols a NC I wager it is much larger than the 1.4 million ( plus " bonuses" of course) that the coach with 8 national championships is paid.
Glass ceiling...?

MCMLXXXIII writes:

in response to bobbarbilly:

Let's see now...2 million or so for an unproven football coach and I don't know Coach Pearl's contract, but even though he has not brought the Vols a NC I wager it is much larger than the 1.4 million ( plus " bonuses" of course) that the coach with 8 national championships is paid.
Glass ceiling...?

No its not a glass ceiling its the amount of money/interest the program brings in. Sorry but WCB just doesn't have the following that CFB or MCB do. Its not terribly fair to accuse UT of discriminating against her when half of her NCs are because UT actually took WCB somewhat seriously when nearly every other college wasn't.

LadyVolFanForever writes:

I fail to understand why some so called fans have to bring negatives into everything....This article is about the success of Coach Summitt, her staff and her players over the 35 years. It is a remarkable story and does not deserve to be tarnished by childish grudges.

Thank you Coach Summitt for making women's sports what they are today !

bobbarbilly writes:

MC, facts are cruel and I am fully aligned with you in understanding the facts that you have presented about college athletics except that Coach Summit is an anomaly and an icon. She has carried and is carrying the banner for WCB. She is an exemplar of my old military unit's motto of " Above The Best".

pdhuff#552644 writes:

She's worth every penny.

lguy (Inactive) writes:

in response to xd9x19:

Man, it's so amusing to always see the comments bashing just about anything Adams writes. It's sad when supposedly educated and intelligent readers expect a report to always blow smoke up their ____. Grow up.

Keep up the good job, JA!!!

You're absolutely right. These people don't understand journalism.

blueoverorange writes:

I am a U of M Tiger fan, but I can tell you that I have admired what Pat Summit has done for the women's game and college basketball in general for years. I am amazed at some of the negative somments on here from supposed Vol fans. That is nutso.

Wasn't there actually a time just a few years back that the women would outdraw the men's team a lot of times? Hey, it says "The Summit" out there on your home court and that is not any kind of tribute to your men's team. How many times have you heard it said when the men canned their coach that the best candidate that the Vols could hire would be their women's coach.

Pat Summit pioneered the women's game with Louisiana Tech and others in the early years and now she constantly plays one of the top women's schedules every year. When you win consistently like she does AND graduate ALL of your players, that is quite a tribute.

What this woman has accomplished is mind boggling to me, especially since she is just 56 years old. She averages winning nearly 29 games per season. She has 8 National Championships and has been to 22 Final Fours. Compare that to your men's team who has NEVER won a single Sweet 16 game.

There again I say that I just don't understand how one single Vol fan could say anything negative about this woman. She is a class act and everyone who says they are a UT fan should be extremely proud for her. I know that I am and I bleed Tiger Blue.

Congratulations, Pat from this Tiger fan.

vollowme writes:

in response to mtnsvol44:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

nice of you to copy and paste this post to 3 different threads. i hate to go hunting around for good advice.

i guess i should go thank you on the other threads so you don't have to hunt for it either.

LadyVolFanForever writes:

orangeoverblue, thank you for your post.

Seems that no part of our society is without a few negative nuts. Sometimes, like this one, it is hard to ignore them but I try. Most of us Tennessee fans realize what a gem we have in Coach Summitt and are very grateful !

ps11824 writes:

Nice article, Mr Adams. Keep up the good words. Keep 'em coming because this could very well be ONLY the beginning of a very special season for us. Never, ever underestimate the power and potential of the Lady Vols. You've seen it time after time. Now feel it.

blueoverorange writes:

in response to LadyVolFanForever:

orangeoverblue, thank you for your post.

Seems that no part of our society is without a few negative nuts. Sometimes, like this one, it is hard to ignore them but I try. Most of us Tennessee fans realize what a gem we have in Coach Summitt and are very grateful !

You have your colors backwards! :-)

ps11824 writes:

Remember fans, negative comments are invisible. Let's not respond to them but come back with your "better angels" and post another accolade for Pat. This is our own personal tribute to her. Someone up there in K'town give her a shout out and direct her to our forum.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to blueoverorange:

I am a U of M Tiger fan, but I can tell you that I have admired what Pat Summit has done for the women's game and college basketball in general for years. I am amazed at some of the negative somments on here from supposed Vol fans. That is nutso.

Wasn't there actually a time just a few years back that the women would outdraw the men's team a lot of times? Hey, it says "The Summit" out there on your home court and that is not any kind of tribute to your men's team. How many times have you heard it said when the men canned their coach that the best candidate that the Vols could hire would be their women's coach.

Pat Summit pioneered the women's game with Louisiana Tech and others in the early years and now she constantly plays one of the top women's schedules every year. When you win consistently like she does AND graduate ALL of your players, that is quite a tribute.

What this woman has accomplished is mind boggling to me, especially since she is just 56 years old. She averages winning nearly 29 games per season. She has 8 National Championships and has been to 22 Final Fours. Compare that to your men's team who has NEVER won a single Sweet 16 game.

There again I say that I just don't understand how one single Vol fan could say anything negative about this woman. She is a class act and everyone who says they are a UT fan should be extremely proud for her. I know that I am and I bleed Tiger Blue.

Congratulations, Pat from this Tiger fan.

Well, most every family has an idiot cousin in the attic somewhere. The overwhelming majority of sports fans everywhere fully appreciate Pat's many achievements on and off the court and would agree that she deserves every penny she makes. Props to you for rising far above the standard established by some of your fellow Tiger fans. In fairness to THEM, I haven't seen much chirping from them against Pat.

ncvol writes:

Just simply the best and deserving of her pay. I don't know what UT will do to replace her when that time comes....
She makes us feel "great to be a Tennessee Vol!"

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