Pat Summitt appreciates the feelings expressed since her announcement last week of being diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type. And now the Tennessee women's basketball coach also has a better understanding of the scope of the sentiment.
She got an eyeful Monday, courtesy of her secretary, Katie Wynn.
"She was giving me all the emails and messages,'' Summitt said. "Her phone was blowing up."
Freshmen Cierra Burdick and Isabelle Harrison filled a flip camera last Friday, walking around campus and asking people why they were wearing orange in response to a Facebook-inspired initiative.
"I don't even know if she recognizes how many people actually wore orange that day to give her recognition and give her support," Burdick said.
"Just to go around to complete strangers, athletes or not, and see how much respect they have for a woman they have never even met. I mean that's tremendous."
Summitt's response to the outpouring of support was heartfelt.
"It's really been very touching,'' she said.
Since Tuesday was the first day of individual workouts, other considerations were in play, too. The business of preparing for the upcoming season unfolded for three hours at Pratt Pavilion. Summitt has a greater understanding of what that means.
"There's a time where: OK, I appreciate all of it; I've just got to get ready and focus on the season,'' Summitt said. "That's what's up next."
Tennessee's assistant coaches conducted the workouts, which consisted of three 3-player groups going through the essentials.
Seniors Glory Johnson and Shekinna Stricklen are getting the week off after playing in the World University Games.
Fellow Lady Vol Kamiko Williams is sidelined after undergoing knee surgery.
Much like recent years, Summitt floated around the court, offering encouragement, advice and conferring with her assistants.
Summitt indicated that she will gauge her involvement in the individual workouts as warranted.
"Depends on the day,'' she said. "Some days are better than others."
Any surprise factor was limited to Harrison, who wasn't expecting the coaches' presence.
"She was like: 'What, the coaches, they're here. I didn't think they were going to be here until the first official practice,' '' senior post Alyssia Brewer said.
"She was kind of nervous about that."
After last week, Brewer said that it was good to have everyone there and get down to work.
"I think it was kind of a relief in a way,'' she said. "It's like you have a job. The work schedule doesn't change.
"You're going to hear from a lot of people that we're a family and family sticks together. That's exactly what we're doing right now."
Notebook: Former Lady Vol Angie Bjorklund is back in Knoxville rehabbing her left foot. She said that a stress reaction in the foot, an injury similar to the one she suffered in her right foot last season, caused her to be cut by the WNBA's Chicago Sky. She plans to play overseas this winter. ... Freshman guard Ariel Massengale, who plans to major in communications, sat in on interviews conducted by ESPN and NBC Nightly News on campus last week. ... Lady Vols video coordinator Dustin Edwards is going to Ohio, where he will be an assistant coach on the staff of former Lady Vol Semeka Randall.