Pat Summitt steps down

Holly Warlick named Lady Vols head coach

Pat Summitt stepped down as head coach of the Tennessee women's basketball program on Wednesday, becoming coach emeritus. Summitt, who joined the program in 1974 said, “I feel really good about my decision.”

Photo by Saul Young

Pat Summitt stepped down as head coach of the Tennessee women's basketball program on Wednesday, becoming coach emeritus. Summitt, who joined the program in 1974 said, “I feel really good about my decision.”

Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick makes her first postgame press conference appearance after  the Lady Vols'  season opener against Carson-Newman at Thompson-Boling Arena on Nov. 1, 2011.

Photo by Saul Young, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick makes her first postgame press conference appearance after the Lady Vols' season opener against Carson-Newman at Thompson-Boling Arena on Nov. 1, 2011.

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After a storied 38-year career, Pat Summitt is stepping down as head coach of the Tennessee women’s basketball team to become a coach emeritus with the program.

Lady Vols associate head coach Holly Warlick will be named the new head coach.

Summitt said that she met with Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart and Warlick on Wednesday morning to finalize the transition. She said that the decision was hers and she’s comfortable with it.

“I feel really good about my decision,” Summitt said. “I think this is going to be a win-win situation for everybody. Holly and I will work really well together.”

Hart lauded Summitt’s legacy as “well-defined and everlasting.”

“Just like there will never be another John Wooden, there will never be another Pat Summmitt,’’ he said. “I look forward to continuing to work with her in her new role. She is an inspiration to everyone.”

Summitt announced last August that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, but continued to coach with the blessing of university officials. In the wake of her announcement, Warlick assumed a bigger role, taking on many of the responsibilities normally reserved for the head coach.

“I feel like Holly’s been doing the bulk of it,’’ Summitt said. “She deserves to be the head coach. I’m going to support her. No doubt, I’ll be there for her.”

Summitt conceded that she doesn’t yet know the full scope of her new position.

“We had to give it a name; that’s pretty much what it is,’’ she said. “They kind of outlined everything. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be. We have some things we have to talk about.”

Summitt still can attend practice and mentor the players. She can send letters, emails or handwritten notes to recruits, which will be of paramount importance. The Lady Vols currently have just six returning players on campus and three high school seniors signed for next season.

Warlick will be making her head coaching debut after spending the past 27 seasons as a UT assistant, a tenure that began with the 1985-86 season. While acknowledging the difficulties of her revised role during the season, Warlick, a former Lady Vols point guard, seemed more comfortable in her role late in the season. If so, Summitt was a big reason why.

“She was very complimentary of me and so that to me means so much and to these kids because I’m doing something in front of the best coach in the world,’’ Warlick said before the NCAA tournament. “And I’m not trying to be Pat Summitt. I’m trying to take what she’s given me and carry on with this team.”

Hart said that Warlick has earned her opportunity.

“I watched Holly grow tremendously as a coach throughout this past season,’’ he said. “Under unique circumstances, the job she did away from the glare of the lights and crowds was an impressive as the job she did during game action.”

Tennessee’s season ended with a 77-58 loss to eventual national champion Baylor in the final of the Des Moines (Iowa) Regional.

During her career, which began with the 1974-75 season, Summitt coached Tennessee to eight national championships. She finished this season with 1,098 career victories and stands alone at that victory plateau among all NCAA coaches. Gene Bess of Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Mo., entered the season with 1,131 victories at the junior college level.

Summitt’s annual salary started at $8,900 in 1974. This season, her total compensation package was $1.5 million.

Earlier this month, senior Glory Johnson became the 21st player coached by Summitt to be named a State Farm (formerly Kodak) All-American. These players accounted for 36 total All-America honors under Summitt’s tutelege.

Summitt has two basketball courts named after her — one at Thompson-Boling Arena and the other at her alma mater, UT Martin. She also has a street named after her on both campuses.

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Comments » 177

gc_scvol writes:

THANKS FOR ALL YOU DID, PAT !!!

wrightskyguy writes:

Wow! Blue skies Pat.

FearlessFreep writes:

Sad, but the necessary step. Best of luck to Holly!

UTbassdrummer writes:

The best.

PUL4VOLS writes:

She has given heart and soul for the University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Program. God bless her next steps. They will likely be very difficult but all of we who love her and appreciate what she has done for women's sports are pulling for her. Love and Prayers to you Coach Pat and your family.

pomp_and_circumstance writes:

The sun sets, and the sun also rises on a new day. This had to happen, and the time is right.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say "Sports" not just womens/Tennessee/NCAA just lost a legend. Witch Doctor wish her the best.
Bones never lie.

keepitreal4vols writes:

Not a fan of Holly Warwick, would like to see UT fly down to LSU and pick up Nikki. But I am just a fan with no money to make a decision.

volboy81 writes:

I knew this day was coming and I'm sad to see it here so soon. Pat, you did more for UT than probably anyone in history and all Vol fans thank you for that. You are the best!!

rocky_topper writes:

Wait until Holly gets hold of this program. Very sad day for the Lady Vols.

volfan2002 writes:

Good luck coach hope everything goes well for you.

LadyVolsFan71 writes:

All the best Coach from your friends in Montgomery County.

Jephry writes:

I have such mixed emotions ... but I'll always be a Lady Vols fan. So now we move forward with a new coach and (basically) a new team. Time to build a new legacy. Go Lady Vols!!!

bspurlingcac#225603 writes:

Dear Pat---It has been an honor to watch you coach the Lady Vols basketball team. You have been and outstanding influence on your players. Your coaching accomplishments on the court will always be remembered. Congratulations on a wonderful career and all the best in retirement.

Orange_Juiced writes:

The end of an era. Hope the next one is as successful. Bless you Pat. You just about single-handedly put women's college BB on the proverbial map. Very few people go through life being able to say they were as loyal...and dedicated...and successful as were you. Many thanks.

nepperso#220348 writes:

Hard to find words. Best of luck and know our prayers are with you.

- An Eternally Grateful Big Orange Nation

proud2btnvol (Inactive) writes:

I have so many memories of Coach Head Summit. I just stopped calling her Coach Head a few years ago. My wife is afraid of Pat's stare. As a Tennessean by birth and raising, I have had my life enriched by Coach Summitt. May God Bless her even in this time of trouble and change.

jcp201 writes:

We love you, Pat! There will never be another like you!!!

UkJarhead writes:

Hopefully she will make her rounds to all the SEC away games so that she may be recognized around the league. She deserves all the credit for putting womens basketball as well as UT on the map. She transcends the game and you can't help to root for her. I know I always did as long as they weren't playing us. Best wishes Pat.

hawkvol07 writes:

Pat, the best Coach ever will be missed. A lot!!! A whole lot!! :-(
Thank you so much for all you done for the game of basketball, especially the Women's game. College and the WNBA owes you a ton. As a fan, I will miss seeing you at work on the side lines being the master at work. I hoped this day would never come but it was a honor watching you. Good Luck Coach Summit!!

TheAnswer39 writes:

I am now boycotting the Lady Vols and possibly the entire athletic program over the hiring of Holly Warlick....

It is truly a SAD day in TENNESSEE athletics as not only have we LOST A LEGEND IN PAT but hired a coach who couldn't get to the FINAL FOUR with 4 WNBA draft picks on their roster over the past 4 years!! SAD SAD SAD day to be a booster and fan of the VOLunteer athletic program!!!

mtnbikrtn writes:

I BACK PAT! Thanks for everything you have done for Tennessee!

LouisVol writes:

It's hard to have any feeling besides sadness. I am grateful for all Pat did, not just for UTK but for women's sports overall. It is hard to overestimate her importance to the state of women's sports in the US.

I'm sad that her health puts her in this situation... I've watched Alzheimer's with my own mother and I don't wish it on anyone.

Still, it's just sad.

BleednUrnge81 writes:

We as a fanbase have been blessed for almost 4 decades to have pat summit gracing the sidelines in TBA. She has established herself, in this fans humble opinion, as the best basketball coach who ever lived, period. Her track record of dominance is just plain ridiculous. We will miss you pat, and I think i speak for everyone when i say that we hope to see you at many mens and womens b-ball games or years to come. Go Pat Summitt, GBO, and have a good'n.

VolzsFan writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VOLS_SEC_RULES writes:

Thank you for everything Pat!

Orange_Power_T writes:

Words will never describe the work and effort that Pat put forth to make the Lady Vols a legended program. Most take for granted all she did for NCAA Women's Basketball. Pat is truly an example of greatness. I wish her the best in her retirement phase, and the upcoming future in dealing with her new challenges.

givehim6 writes:

A TRUE Lady Vol! She got to choose the day and time to go, and I know by personal experience how inportant this is. Good luck PAT, UT loves you!

bigfan865 writes:

I hope the Holly haters hold their tongues. The decision has been made and by people who know a lot more than we do. Like it or not Holly is our new head coach. Personally, I think she has earned and deserves the opportunity. I think with Pat staying close to the program the new coach needed to be someone with a relationship with her. A head coach coming in from outside has her own way of doing things, and for that matter, her own ego. Would have been difficult for them to be HC yet Pat still around.
Whatever your thoughts are, anything negative will only serve to hurt the image of the program and definitely hurt recruiting. Just ask Dooley how tough it was to assure parents your AD is behind you and your job secure when the fans on these sites insist you should be gone.
Good luck Holly on a big challenge. May you and the LV program be very successful!

GerryOP writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The lack of class in making this post reflects only on you VolzsFan, only on you. You define the worst of all posters on here.

gamecockfan writes:

From the Gamecock Nation and the SEC families we will miss you
you are a legendary coach and will always be.
prayers to you and Tyler.
May god bless
And Coach Holly Warlick best of luck to you

SCVFL writes:

God Bless You, Coach Summit. Glad to know you will still be envolved with Tennessee. You will forever be the MODEL for a VFL. You will be in my families prayers.
Thanks for all the wonderful memories. I remember for years a saying, "In Tennessee men play football and women play basketball."

born2ride writes:

Great Coach.

Great Lady.

Great Career.

Thank you Pat Head Summitt.

thevoice writes:

Thank you Coach Summit for your determination, humility, and for making proud all of the women's basketball community, not just UT folk. You're best and may you enjoy every following day.

GerryOP writes:

Pat, no one, and I mean no one, has given more to not only or university's athletic programs but also to the entire university. Thank you, God bless, and God speed Pat Summitt.

baldingalum writes:

Three thoughts...

1. Her impact on women's sports is unparalleled. There is not Title 9 legislation. There are not televised women's athletics. There are not nearly the dollars or recognition for women's sports without the amazing contributions of Pat Summit.

2. Her players not only went to class, they participated and graduated. They were truly student-atheltes.

3. As a father of a daughter who enjoys sports, there is a new world of opportunity afforded to her and her generation. Much of that world was created by Pat Summit. For that I am forever grateful.

RockyTop1_old writes:

Pat,
May God lead you in all He has for you to do. Pat you will always be a part of our family since my second grandson is named Summitt after you!! He has your signed Picture you signed for him on his bedroom wall...Thanks for being such an inspiration to all you have touched with your wonderful life! This is a Sad Day however!

Holly, I hope you get them prepared for next season, it WILL determine the future of OUR program!! GO Lady VOLS!!

AlpharettaVol writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't be a jerk!

mlpmal writes:

Coach, I've loved watching every minute of your coaching the Lady Vols!! We all knew this was coming with your announcement last year, but I hate to see it. Good luck and thanks for all you've given us fans!!!

allvol8 writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You just proved ya can't fix stupid....Pat is #1 men and women's....by the way ya can sedate stupid

volpreacher writes:

in response to TheAnswer39:

I am now boycotting the Lady Vols and possibly the entire athletic program over the hiring of Holly Warlick....

It is truly a SAD day in TENNESSEE athletics as not only have we LOST A LEGEND IN PAT but hired a coach who couldn't get to the FINAL FOUR with 4 WNBA draft picks on their roster over the past 4 years!! SAD SAD SAD day to be a booster and fan of the VOLunteer athletic program!!!

Thanks Pat for all the wonderful memories. Now while I think Holly is a good coach, she is not what we need at UT. I will not be like you and boycott the Lady Vols because I bleed orange. But I wish the administration had gone after Nikki. Holly just don't have the fire in her to get it done. I told someone the other day, had Pat been at full health, UT would have beaten Baylor. Holly just doesn't have the control Pat did. Of course who did? But I think we could do better. Either way, I will back Holly since she is our coach.

TommyJack writes:

in response to TheAnswer39:

I am now boycotting the Lady Vols and possibly the entire athletic program over the hiring of Holly Warlick....

It is truly a SAD day in TENNESSEE athletics as not only have we LOST A LEGEND IN PAT but hired a coach who couldn't get to the FINAL FOUR with 4 WNBA draft picks on their roster over the past 4 years!! SAD SAD SAD day to be a booster and fan of the VOLunteer athletic program!!!

Do you bring ants to picnics?

dv8ing writes:

Thanks Coach!

Vol4EVA writes:

Thanks for all you have done Coach! You are a true Tennessee Legend.....Good luck and prayers are with you...

WelovePat writes:

We will all miss you much. I'm so glad we got to see 6 games this year. Things won't be the same but I'm sure Holly will give it her all. Come on Lady Vol fans...lets lift them up:)

vol49 writes:

Thanks Coach Pat for all you have done. You will never be forgotten. Kick back and take it easy now. You have earned it.

ladyvolsfanforlife writes:

Thank you Pat for all you have done and we all love you and you will be missed! And I think Holly will do a great job. She has done great thus far. And people putting Holly down-she's been by Pats side for 27 years...you should expect more from the person who has been by Pats side all these years. Congratulations Holly and we hope to see you around Pat!!

UKblue02 writes:

Great person, great coach, great for the game of bb....You are and will be the greatest womens bb coach for centuries to come. I give you sincerest best wishes for your future.

Central_IL_Vol writes:

Coach Pat,

Thank you for all you have done for women's basketball and the University of Tennessee!

Best wishes to you!

stevefrommemphis writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

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