Mickie DeMoss leaves UT, named to staff of Indiana Fever

Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt and assistant coach Mickie DeMoss are all smiles as they celebrate their win in the semifinal round of the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN.

(SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2012

Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt and assistant coach Mickie DeMoss are all smiles as they celebrate their win in the semifinal round of the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt announced today that assistant Mickie DeMoss was leaving her staff to join the WNBA’s Indiana Fever.

“From my perspective, I am so excited for Mickie,” Summitt said in a UT release. “Coaching at the next level has always been one of her professional aspirations, and the Fever is one of the best teams in the league.

“Obviously, Mickie is not only a great coach but she is a lifelong friend. We will certainly miss her at Tennessee and the contributions she has made during the 20 years she has been a part of our championship program.”

A 35-year veteran at the very height of NCAA women’s basketball and the 2006 SEC Coach of the Year, DeMoss served 20 seasons as an assistant and associate head coach at Tennessee. She spent three seasons as an assistant to Gail Goestenkors at Texas and served four years with record-breaking results as the head coach at Kentucky.

“A few months ago, Indiana Fever head coach Lin Dunn contacted me about an opening on her staff,” DeMoss said. “I was very interested, but I told her my immediate concern was helping Pat and the Lady Vol basketball team.

“When Pat and I talked about the opportunity to coach at the next level, she told me she would support me in whatever decision I chose to make. I’ve been in the game for 35 years and this (the WNBA) is always something I’ve wanted to do.

“The Indiana Fever was a perfect fit, and the opportunity to coach with Lin will present a brand new learning experience for me,” said DeMoss.

A participant in six national championships and 12 NCAA Final Four appearances, DeMoss joins returning assistant coach Stephanie White on the Fever bench.

“Mickie is one of the most highly respected basketball people in our business,” said Fever Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf. “She has been at the highest level in the collegiate game and has taught and prepared many of her players to move on and become great WNBA players. She is a winner and a tireless worker. I am very happy that she has chosen to join our franchise.”

DeMoss spent the past two seasons with the Lady Volunteers where she had previously spent 18 years as part of a coaching trio featuring Summitt and Holly Warlick. During a span from 1985-86 to 2002-03, the trio led the Lady Vols to six national titles and 12 trips to the Final Four. DeMoss took the coaching reins at Kentucky for the 2003-04 season and later spent time at Texas before returning to Rocky Top in 2010-11.

"I have known Coach DeMoss for 30 years,” added Dunn who has long-standing ties with the UT program. "She brings to our staff an elite knowledge both offensively and defensively. She has had tremendous experiences with championship teams at Tennessee. I have always been highly impressed with her work ethic, her ability to develop players, her attention to detail and her excellent communication skills. We are thrilled to have her with the Fever!"

During her first 18 seasons at UT, the Lady Vols amassed a 554-77 (.878) overall record. DeMoss was promoted to associate head coach in 2000, but stepped aside three years later to lead her own program.

In four seasons at Kentucky, she guided the Wildcats to a 71-56 record including consecutive 20-win seasons and three postseason appearances (one NCAA and two WNIT).

The 2006 SEC Coach of the Year honor was a first for a UK coach, as she guided the 22-9 Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven seasons and punctuated the trip with an NCAA win. In 2006-07, Kentucky was 20-14 and advanced to the WNIT. That season, DeMoss' Cats attracted a school record attendance of 5,863 fans per game.

She elected to step aside as head coach at Kentucky in April 2007, but her coaching hiatus ended when she accepted an assistant coaching position at the University of Texas in the summer of 2007. She was the Longhorns' top recruiter while also coaching the post game.

Over the past three decades, DeMoss has cemented a reputation as one of the country’s most elite coaches. A survey of the nation's NCAA Division I women's head basketball coaches tabbed her as the top assistant in the country in 2000. She also garnered that distinction from a 1998 The Women's Basketball Journal poll. While at UT, DeMoss was considered a great technical mind, floor coach and entertainer. Off the court, she was regarded as one of the best recruiters in the college game, year after year recruiting future All-SEC and All-America award-winners, while stockpiling rosters with the kind of players essential to winning national championships.

Some of DeMoss' most notable recruits at Tennessee include: Tonya Edwards, the 1987 Final Four MVP, Dena Head, the 1992 SEC Player of the Year, Chamique Holdsclaw, the 1996 and 1997 Final Four MVP, and Tamika Catchings, a four-time All-American and current star of the Fever. Another DeMoss recruit and All-SEC standout was 2005 SEC Tournament MVP Shyra Ely, an Indianapolis native and current Fever star who joins Catchings in welcoming their former college coach to Indiana.

Noted for her success coaching post players, DeMoss protégés have represented Team USA in every Olympic Games since 1992.

Prior to joining the Tennessee staff in 1985, DeMoss had been an assistant coach at Auburn University (1983-85), a head coach at the University of Florida (1979-83) and an assistant at Memphis State (1977-79). DeMoss received her undergraduate degree in physical education from Louisiana Tech University in 1977, where she starred at point guard. She then received her master's degree in education at Memphis State University in 1979. She is a native of Tallulah, La.

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Comments » 26

johnlg00 writes:

Very interesting! Happy for Mickie to go to the "next level" and to be out of the turmoil that is bound to engulf the LV program as long as Pat's future is still up in the air.

mdvol writes:

Good for Mickie but it could be an indication of what we know is coming......

The_Ghost_of_Neyland writes:

Best wishes to you, Mickie. You did a wonderful job while on The Hill and will be missed.

VFL70 writes:

Don't think this would happen if not for Pat's illness and the inevitable.

Volinflan writes:

So there you have it! Some real news! Is this the beginning of the house cleaning or is this DeMoss leaving because Warlick is going to be the next head coach? I won't be surprised if we don't see some more "coaching" news in the next few days. Will we be seeing a new "assistant coach"? For sure, we know now why DeMoss totally yielded the reins to Warlick. Lockwood's resume is probably out there also. Well, one thing about an uncertain future is that its uncertain. Gives us a lot to be excited about.

RoadTrip writes:

Good luck and have fun, Mickie! We appreciate what you did for the LV's all those years.

Pompey writes:

...as a practical matter I don't see how on earth they can recruit with the existing situation as it is......

reg_mza#219136 writes:

Good for Mickie! I can't see her coming back a third time unless it's a head coaching job and then that would require Holly as no longer a head coach nor Pat. I'm not sure how this affects us in recruiting because she was a heckuva recruiter and there are some floating recruits currently out there probably deciding whether UT is the place now that their rapport with their recruiter is now gone. Pat, Deane, and Holly will have to work over time for a bit on this.

FearlessFreep writes:

This is fairly telling - unlikely to be another coach who can come in and do the same things that Mickie was doing in terms of dealing with Pat's illness.

I think the writing is on the wall - Pat's sadly coached her last game at UT. She likely did not want to upstage the Final Four by announcing it prior to then.

UT will be fine - but it still feels surreal.

tnluv2play writes:

We wish you all the best, Mickie.

GerryOP writes:

Mickie, thanks for 20 years of service to our Lady Vols! Go forth and do well.

CrankE writes:

Thank you for all that you've done for Tennessee, Mickie DeMoss.

Razor784 writes:

Gotta say this shocks me, Mickie used to be the best recruiter in the game. It seems like now the top recruit goes to UConn every year.

kazoo writes:

DeMoss is leaving, IMO, either because PS is retiring or because she does not want to play a subordinate role to Warlick, and who can blame her for that? She has more experience than Warlick. The bottom line is that the program desperately needs some fresh blood.

klrigsby#1377153 writes:

Someone once that change is good, I have to say for me it's sad as our coaching staff is going to change and the program it self will change. I look back on all the wins and the players that have been here and feel like a proud fan of Pat the staff and ths school. It's been a great run and i hope and pray it keeps going.

SevenT writes:

Mickey "left" Kentucky under a cloud of controversey that is better left unsaid. Quite frankly I was surprised Pat took her back after all the Kentucky mess.

murrayvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Very interesting! Happy for Mickie to go to the "next level" and to be out of the turmoil that is bound to engulf the LV program as long as Pat's future is still up in the air.

That's about right.

Theo writes:

in response to russ:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why are you on a women's basketball site if you feel that way about the WNBA and are that ignorant about the league? I'm guessing you are not that ignorant just that sexist. I guess you also don't care anything about olympic gold medals. Please don't chant USA, USA when the WNBA all stars take the gold in London.

BufordTJustice writes:

The WNBA???............seriously?? pat should never have taken her back in he first place. smells a lot like David Cutcliff......no loyalty, and wants to be a head coach so bad that he would jump ship at the first clown program that would offer him the keys to their clown car. seriously bad decisions.....next to Vandy the only worse coaching gig in SEC is Ole Miss.....he jumped on that sunken ship....then after Fulmer kept him out of the unemployment line........Duke FOOTBALL?.......one of the dumbest moves EVER....and now DeMoss shows her loyalty to Pat by ditching her at the weakest point of her professional and private life for.....the WNBA??? Playing in front of 12 fans a night in a league that is completely financially unviable. Good riddance!

voloffaith writes:

in response to brewersup:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Defamatory....classless....SHE is a VFL and has contributed greatly to the program. The powers that be will determine what is in the university's best interest. Remember 'don't judge a book by its cover.' BTW the cover doesn't suggest what you implied. Thanks Holly from one Bearden grad to another...and one Tennessee grad to another...

voloffaith writes:

in response to SevenT:

Mickey "left" Kentucky under a cloud of controversey that is better left unsaid. Quite frankly I was surprised Pat took her back after all the Kentucky mess.

Rumors is all you have...she came back to UT from Texas. Friendships can weather many tough things and are usually very forgiving....something I'm not so sure you understand based on your many kat postings...I will say congrats to fans of the kats so far....

BufordTJustice writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Defamatory....classless....SHE is a VFL and has contributed greatly to the program. The powers that be will determine what is in the university's best interest. Remember 'don't judge a book by its cover.' BTW the cover doesn't suggest what you implied. Thanks Holly from one Bearden grad to another...and one Tennessee grad to another...

The problem with Holly is talent evaluation. Championship programs like Pat's and Geno's derive from (1a) superior coaching and (1b) superior talent. Whether Holly would be a superior head coach is something that cannot be answered at this point. Unfortunately, she has a lengthy record of inferior talent evaluation skills. Throughout her career, she has located and gone out on many limbs to bring players into the program that didnt even come close to measuring up. As an example, one out of the many that Holly pushed for so hard for Pat to extend a scholarship to was Misty Greene. For those that can't remember, Misty was in the same recruiting class as Tamika Catchings, etc....widely touted as the most talented recruiting classes in the history of the game. She was fat, slow, unathletic, couldn't shoot, was absolutely HORRIBLE.....Pat eventually ran her off because it was yet another complete bomb that Holly brought into the program. With Demoss displaying absolutely ZERO loyalty to Pat or the program, and Holly's inability to evaluate basketball talent any better than Hellen Keller, when Pat does retire, she will have to be replaced by someone from the outside. By this I mean -not currently on the staff- ....could still be a former player or coaching disciple of Pat's. Bt unfortunately, Holly is out, and Demoss doesn't deserve the opportunity to come back and mop sweat off the floor. Hopefully Pat can coach a few more years and give us time to evaluate Kelly Jolly's and/or Nikki Caldwell's head coaching success.

bostonladyvol writes:

in response to BufordTJustice:

The problem with Holly is talent evaluation. Championship programs like Pat's and Geno's derive from (1a) superior coaching and (1b) superior talent. Whether Holly would be a superior head coach is something that cannot be answered at this point. Unfortunately, she has a lengthy record of inferior talent evaluation skills. Throughout her career, she has located and gone out on many limbs to bring players into the program that didnt even come close to measuring up. As an example, one out of the many that Holly pushed for so hard for Pat to extend a scholarship to was Misty Greene. For those that can't remember, Misty was in the same recruiting class as Tamika Catchings, etc....widely touted as the most talented recruiting classes in the history of the game. She was fat, slow, unathletic, couldn't shoot, was absolutely HORRIBLE.....Pat eventually ran her off because it was yet another complete bomb that Holly brought into the program. With Demoss displaying absolutely ZERO loyalty to Pat or the program, and Holly's inability to evaluate basketball talent any better than Hellen Keller, when Pat does retire, she will have to be replaced by someone from the outside. By this I mean -not currently on the staff- ....could still be a former player or coaching disciple of Pat's. Bt unfortunately, Holly is out, and Demoss doesn't deserve the opportunity to come back and mop sweat off the floor. Hopefully Pat can coach a few more years and give us time to evaluate Kelly Jolly's and/or Nikki Caldwell's head coaching success.

" As an example, one out of the many that Holly pushed for so hard for Pat to extend a scholarship to was Misty Greene. For those that can't remember, Misty was in the same recruiting class as Tamika Catchings, etc....widely touted as the most talented recruiting classes in the history of the game" ...

I think you are talking about Ace Clement who was pretty instrumental in the '98 title run (the regional final for example). Ace also had a horrifically sprained ankle and couldn't play in the '00 title game in Philly when UConn backdoored us to death. She did have a long prep resume - and we don't win that title in '98 without her play in the regional final.

Misty Greene was part of the Jolly, Holdsclaw recruiting class. She and Laxton both left the team after their junior years - although I think it was Laxton's RS-JR year, both graduated from UT with their classes(Laxton is now a MD).

If you are going to slam our ladies, at least get their classes right.

martinvol34 writes:

in response to russ:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're an idiot. The league self-sustains and believe it or not is more competitive and entertaining than the Men's Pro teams.

The players have heart and not egos and understand the definition of the word team.

BufordTJustice writes:

in response to bostonladyvol:

" As an example, one out of the many that Holly pushed for so hard for Pat to extend a scholarship to was Misty Greene. For those that can't remember, Misty was in the same recruiting class as Tamika Catchings, etc....widely touted as the most talented recruiting classes in the history of the game" ...

I think you are talking about Ace Clement who was pretty instrumental in the '98 title run (the regional final for example). Ace also had a horrifically sprained ankle and couldn't play in the '00 title game in Philly when UConn backdoored us to death. She did have a long prep resume - and we don't win that title in '98 without her play in the regional final.

Misty Greene was part of the Jolly, Holdsclaw recruiting class. She and Laxton both left the team after their junior years - although I think it was Laxton's RS-JR year, both graduated from UT with their classes(Laxton is now a MD).

If you are going to slam our ladies, at least get their classes right.

it had nothing to do with Clement, but thanks for the update on her ankle. I was referring to Misty Greene and although I did get her class wrong (gasp), she is just one of many examples of Holly's utter incompetence in evaluating talent...or the complete lack of it. So as I said, hopefully Pat is up for a few more years so we/Hart can get a good feel for what other former players/current coaches such as Nikki Caldwell have to offer, because Holly would be
a big mistake. Pat/Geno/Dean Smith/John Wooden couldn't win championships with the kind of talent Warlick would assemble.

BigRMan writes:

The owners should seriously consider hiring DeMoss as head coach if the Fever get off to a slow start. Lin Dunn has considerably under-achieved since succeeding Nell Fortner. I'm sure Catchings is elated!

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