Pat Summitt says book of memories from former players 'unbelievable'

Tennessee's coaches from left, assistant coach Micke DeMoss, head coach Pat Summitt, associate head coach Holly Warlick, and assistant coach Dean Lockwood watch their teams's progress against Old Dominion. The Lady Vols deafeat Old Dominion 90-37 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday, December 28, 2011. 


(SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, Saul Young

Tennessee's coaches from left, assistant coach Micke DeMoss, head coach Pat Summitt, associate head coach Holly Warlick, and assistant coach Dean Lockwood watch their teams's progress against Old Dominion. The Lady Vols deafeat Old Dominion 90-37 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday, December 28, 2011. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Lady Vols beat Old Dominion, 90-37

Pat Summitt did the math and figured that such a large gathering of former Tennessee women's basketball players amounted to something more than a mere coincidence.

"I thought 'Well, something's going on,' " the Lady Vols coach said. "I at least knew that."

More than 20 former players convened on Wednesday to present Summitt with a collection of letters they had written to their coach, detailing her impact on their lives. More than 60 players and seven team managers submitted entries. The project was the brainchild of former Lady Vols star Chamique Holdsclaw, who was looking for a way to organize her thoughts and express herself after Summitt was diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.

"It's really special that they put this all together,'' Summitt said. "I had no idea. I was like 'Wow.' It just really touched my heart."

Summitt said that letters have been collected into a book-like bound volume with player photos and biographical information. She wasn't surprised that Holdsclaw organized the project.

"We have a great relationship,'' Summitt said. "She's reached out to me in a lot of different ways with my diagnosis and everything. She's been the one who rallied all the troops and had everybody there. The book is unbelievable."

Holdsclaw's relationship with Summitt has helped steer the former four-time All-American through the death of grandmother and a bout with depression.

"Right now, she seems to be the best she's been in a long time,'' Summitt said. "She's in a great place. I'm just so proud of her."

Why Change: When asked whether Alicia Manning would stay in the starting lineup for Sunday's SEC opener at Auburn, UT associate head coach Holly Warlick responded with a question: "Why would we take her out?"

The senior forward made her first start of the season Wednesday, replacing Vicki Baugh. She responded with career highs for rebounds (15) and steals (six) in a 90-37 victory over Old Dominion. She also scored nine points and recorded five assists.

Spani Update: Guard Taber Spani, who didn’t play against Wednesday, sat out Thursday’s practice, resting her sore left knee.

Spani has been wearing a brace on the knee since suffering a sprain and bone bruise in a game at Virginia on Nov. 20.

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Comments » 7

formerflgranny writes:

AWESOME!!!!

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

Got my "We Back Pat" T-shirt for Christmas...the best present I got this year!!

wigmeister writes:

My mother was a teacher and she used to get letters from former students. It made her feel great, and I am sure it will have the same resounding feeling with Pat. She deserves every accolade that comes her way!

rtrchatt writes:

What a great gift for CS. It will last her a lifetime.

crossvoll writes:

When you apply yourself with diligence, character, and class, like Pat has over the past 38 years, then you reap the rewards from the lives you touch. For years, before anyone even noticed, she was faithful to her calling as a coach and mentor and friend, and now, when she needs support, her players are there for her. God bless you, Pat!

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

Proud of our Coach and her players. Vols for Life!

Terrax1 writes:

in response to formerflgranny:

AWESOME!!!!

I agree that was an awesome gift. I live in Pa. and we have followed Pat and the Lady Vols for many years. My husband did his graduate work at UT. We wear our Tennessee clothes proudly and display our Lady Vols window clings. We love you Pat and girls.

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