Holly Warlick's good cheer goes by the wayside

Coach lays down the law with Lady Vols

Tennessee head basketball coach Holly Warlick talks with Ariel Massengale during their game against MTSU at Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday, November 28, 2012.

(Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Photo by Saul Young, 2012 Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee head basketball coach Holly Warlick talks with Ariel Massengale during their game against MTSU at Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday, November 28, 2012. (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

At least Holly Warlick remains in a giving mood.

That's about the extent of any similarity between the Tennessee women's basketball coach's temperament and the holiday season. She hasn't been spreading good cheer through the ranks. The disappointment she felt after last Saturday's loss to No. 1 Stanford has been reheated and dished out anew as the No. 13 Lady Vols (7-3) prepare to face Davidson (4-6).

Tipoff is at 7 tonight at Thompson-Boling Arena. The game will not be televised but will be streamed online at UTSports.com.

When asked to describe how her coach is feeling, Isabelle Harrison's first thought was "indescribable."

"She's been that way (before)," the sophomore center said, "but it just opened our eyes to what Holly can be like. We just have to get used to it. She's the head coach so she can do it."

Since the team returned from Christmas break, perhaps no player has felt the first-year head coach's fury quite like Ariel Massengale. Warlick told her she hasn't been assertive enough lately. Massengale said Warlick also said that she "couldn't rely" on the sophomore point guard to lead the team.

"It's still bothering me," Massengale said before Thursday's practice. "I hope (Wednesday) in practice, I kind of showed her she can and just try to gain her trust back each and every day."

Warlick thinks that the players understand fully that she hasn't been very happy since a 73-60 loss

to the Cardinal on Dec. 22. She also hopes that they realize the result doesn't rankle her but rather the effort involved.

"I'm trying not to make the game about me and how I feel," she said. "It's about them and how they played and how they felt during the game.

"I want to make sure I'm not going to settle for just mediocrity. I'm not going to accept being average. I thought (against Stanford) we were average. Stanford's a great team, played well and we didn't do anything to combat their effort."

Assistant coach Jolette Law said that she's been playing the role of "buffer" as she tries to smooth the rough edges on Warlick's ongoing critique.

"I'm trying to get people to relax and understanding Holly has to do that to get them to the next level," she said. "But at the end of the day, this is what she's trying to say."

Law thinks that the Lady Vols need to recoup their confidence and recall the intensity and teamwork of some of their better games. The best example was a 102-57 victory over North Carolina on Dec. 2.

It's worth noting that even if the Lady Vols feel like they're being buried by their head coach these days, Harrison conceded, "We kind of dug ourselves in this hole."

And no matter how beleaguered Massengale might be feeling, she still describes her relationship with Warlick as "great."

"As a player, that's what you want from your coach," Massengale said. "That when you're not playing well, especially when your coach knows what you're capable of, they challenge you."

The challenge Massengale sees for herself pertains to her role.

"We've lost two (consecutive) games, you're supposed to be the point guard and lead the team," she said. "What are you going to do about it?"

Her interpretation essentially applies to what's facing the entire team.

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Comments » 32

movol53 writes:

Nothing wrong with pointing out what they did wrong; now teach then how to fix it!!!! They are a young team and fans expect some tough losses but the team (coaches and players) MUST use every game as a learning experience. Show them the NC game tape a piece at a time pointing out what they did correctly and then show the same set (or something similar) from the Stanford game and just compare and contrast the two. BREAK THE GAME DOWN. Let the players see they can be very good (as in the NC game).

SoddyVol writes:

If you heard the Coach's interview with Mickey D. following the Stanford game, Holly was so Beside Herself she could hardly do the interview. It was evident the poor effort they put up was totally unexpected. My own opinion was a big loss in self confidence to start this game due to Baylor game. After Stanford let up a little in the second half, Tenn started closing the gap. Stanford had to call a time out and from that time until the end, Stanford had to fight for their lives to maintain their lead over Tenn but couldn't increase it either.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

So what??

Why do people think athletes play better with a coach harping at them rather than encouraging them??

If all you do is crab at your players, they tune you out.

Pat threw the Strick/Glory Johnson team under the bus their freshman year...and they never recovered.

At some point, coaches have to realize they recruited these players, and they are past of the wins and losses, too.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to SoddyVol:

If you heard the Coach's interview with Mickey D. following the Stanford game, Holly was so Beside Herself she could hardly do the interview. It was evident the poor effort they put up was totally unexpected. My own opinion was a big loss in self confidence to start this game due to Baylor game. After Stanford let up a little in the second half, Tenn started closing the gap. Stanford had to call a time out and from that time until the end, Stanford had to fight for their lives to maintain their lead over Tenn but couldn't increase it either.

Personally, I think Stanford is WAY overrated.

They barely got by So. Carolina...only because USC missed FORTY-SEVEN shots...unbelievable.

Anyway, even with that, USC had a chance to win at the end if it makes free throws.

It will be very interesting to see how the UConn game goes for them....the question being "what do the refs dictate", of course.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

JMO....
If warlick wants to get this team to do something, she's going to have to get them to believe she's right their with them. Maybe that means running the floor at practice, or getting a technical, or whatever.

This team has a very, very small margin of talent. In fact, I think the strength may lie in the young posts.

Can anyone remember the LV guards working hard to get the posts the ball??
Hint: Anosike, Parker.

tenn32rebel writes:

in response to emailnodata:

JMO....
If warlick wants to get this team to do something, she's going to have to get them to believe she's right their with them. Maybe that means running the floor at practice, or getting a technical, or whatever.

This team has a very, very small margin of talent. In fact, I think the strength may lie in the young posts.

Can anyone remember the LV guards working hard to get the posts the ball??
Hint: Anosike, Parker.

What team are you watching? It certainly isn't the current Lady Vol team! "very, very small margin of talent..." WTH!!!!!

The lost of Draya was HUGE, especially on the defensive end. This team is one year away from starting a four-year run at two or more NCs!!!

Our weakest position is center / 5 slot. Next year, Mercedes Russell will start and only have to worry about protecting the paint. Her more experienced teammates will take carry of the rest.

We have the pieces for a NC team--Holly is putting it together NOW. Her work won't really bear fruit for two more years, so you better learn some patience!!! You will need it.

burpee_von_rotweiler_IV writes:

After every loss the interviewed players say the same old tired stuff like "we didn't play well and need to do better" and "we need to step up, blah, blah." Just shut up and do it.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to tenn32rebel:

What team are you watching? It certainly isn't the current Lady Vol team! "very, very small margin of talent..." WTH!!!!!

The lost of Draya was HUGE, especially on the defensive end. This team is one year away from starting a four-year run at two or more NCs!!!

Our weakest position is center / 5 slot. Next year, Mercedes Russell will start and only have to worry about protecting the paint. Her more experienced teammates will take carry of the rest.

We have the pieces for a NC team--Holly is putting it together NOW. Her work won't really bear fruit for two more years, so you better learn some patience!!! You will need it.

You are eating the hype.

The talent on this team is run-of-the-mill, maybe puts them in the Louisville-Cal range of teams.

The "weakest position" is by far the guard spot. The play is erratic, the decisions erratic, the shooting terrible.

This Russell girl? She will get her lunch eaten by big, experienced, aggressive posts with years in a college program. She might not even make it out of preseason as the no. 2 post.

The Graves kid? She has the best upside on this team, and is where the focus needs to be.

The best thing UT has going for them right now is the SEC pretty much sucks when you dig down into it.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to emailnodata:

You are eating the hype.

The talent on this team is run-of-the-mill, maybe puts them in the Louisville-Cal range of teams.

The "weakest position" is by far the guard spot. The play is erratic, the decisions erratic, the shooting terrible.

This Russell girl? She will get her lunch eaten by big, experienced, aggressive posts with years in a college program. She might not even make it out of preseason as the no. 2 post.

The Graves kid? She has the best upside on this team, and is where the focus needs to be.

The best thing UT has going for them right now is the SEC pretty much sucks when you dig down into it.

Whine..........whine..............whine

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

I was wrong about the Stanford game . The game against Georgia will determine if the lady Vols learned and ready to make a run in the SEC. I agree Draya brought some real grit to this team and is missed. Harrison and Graves got bullied in.the post with 3 girls over 6'3 and physical. Simmons needs to stop being so emotional and just shoot the ball. She puts too much pressure on herself.

underthehill writes:

I disagree with Holly..I did not see a poor effort by the Lady Vols..I saw an experienced well coached Stanford team win a game they were expected to win..In my opinion..you are sending the wrong message to say you lost this game due to lack of effort by the players..when you win you win as a team and that includes the coaching..when you lose you lose as a team and that includes the coaching..

underthehill writes:

in response to emailnodata:

You are eating the hype.

The talent on this team is run-of-the-mill, maybe puts them in the Louisville-Cal range of teams.

The "weakest position" is by far the guard spot. The play is erratic, the decisions erratic, the shooting terrible.

This Russell girl? She will get her lunch eaten by big, experienced, aggressive posts with years in a college program. She might not even make it out of preseason as the no. 2 post.

The Graves kid? She has the best upside on this team, and is where the focus needs to be.

The best thing UT has going for them right now is the SEC pretty much sucks when you dig down into it.

I agree that the Graves kid..as you call her..is the best upside on this team..but you don't know much basketball if you think the talent on this team is run of the mill..Harrison was coming along better than I thought she was capable of before her injury and on her way to being a complete player...Burdick is very good at all phases of the game..and these 3 on the floor at the same time give the Lady Vols a front line that could be the best in the SEC..you may be right to say the guard position is the weakest on the team and I hope to see Kamiko on the floor playing like she did against Baylor..if that happens..the Lady Vols will win the SEC..with S Car and Ky playing the way they are..and with the Lady Vols playing the way they did against N Car..the SEC does not suck..even tho they are not as dominate as in days gone by..bottom line for me is .. I like the talent and players on this team..and I think how far they go will be determined by how well they are coached..

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to underthehill:

I disagree with Holly..I did not see a poor effort by the Lady Vols..I saw an experienced well coached Stanford team win a game they were expected to win..In my opinion..you are sending the wrong message to say you lost this game due to lack of effort by the players..when you win you win as a team and that includes the coaching..when you lose you lose as a team and that includes the coaching..

Well-said...
and it was my complaint about Pat starting with the post-Candace teams.

Many coaches do this. I admire Cuonzo Martin for what he does with his players. Not so sure about his recruiting, though :0(

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

How many years did Holly spend with Coach Pat? How do you think she would have responded?

Pat Summitt said many times the one aspect of the game she DIDN'T want to HAVE TO coach is effort. If our coach sees that we need more effort, who is in a better position to know?

Lay off Holly. She'll get it right.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Whine..........whine..............whine

@orange
here, don't cry, it's just basketball.

Are you having a bad day?? Is the stress of life just too much??

Here, an old hanky to dry your tears.

ps11824 writes:

[[[ " I thought (against Stanford) we were average." said Holly. I totally agree.

Law thinks that the Lady Vols need to recoup their confidence and recall the intensity and teamwork - I totally agree.

Harrison conceded, "We kind of dug ourselves in this hole." She said a mouthful there, fans.

So now that everyone knows what's what, what will they do about? I hope they will leave it all on the court, not just tonight, but against a lesser opponent they need to play with the intensity that they are capable of, yet we have not seen in the last 2 contests.

Some of you posters want to condemn Holly as not being a deserving head coach. It sounds like she's a Pat Summitt clone, and you just can't beat that, IMHO.

I wondered how long it would take for someone to bring the "throw 'em under the bus" garbage in here. Well, emailnodata, that is a flagrant foul on you. That's just not fair. Anyone who would go there never wanted the coaching arrangement to be successful. Please nip that tired theme in the bud. It just isn't helpful. I don't think posters want to read that stuff. Do they? Speaking for myself, it hurts the situation to post such comments.

Maybe I'm a chump, but I believe we need to encourage each other and look for and comment on the positive angle. We cannot reach the team. They may or may not read GVX. I say they do. Coaches do too. Why not give it a shot and be really supportive here? I don't know about all of you, but I surely enjoy reading the supportive stuff with mild critiques rather than the negative comments which serve no purpose.

coffy73 writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Whine..........whine..............whine

Too many LV fans want to stick their fingers in their ears and block out reality. I see that a lot on this board. This team is very mediocre, so as a fan you have to expect losses especially to great teams like Baylor & Stanford. They were never going to beat these teams, even if their effort were 120%!
Then we have Warlick, who was a great assistant, but head coach she is not. Instead of coming into her own and doing her own thing, Holly is too busy trying to imitate Coach Summitt. Learn from the legend, but take that and add your own ideas and style to it. Nikki Caldwell is doing that very thing.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to coffy73:

Too many LV fans want to stick their fingers in their ears and block out reality. I see that a lot on this board. This team is very mediocre, so as a fan you have to expect losses especially to great teams like Baylor & Stanford. They were never going to beat these teams, even if their effort were 120%!
Then we have Warlick, who was a great assistant, but head coach she is not. Instead of coming into her own and doing her own thing, Holly is too busy trying to imitate Coach Summitt. Learn from the legend, but take that and add your own ideas and style to it. Nikki Caldwell is doing that very thing.

coffy,

Well worded friend. I can respect your input, as opposed to the previous whiner.

Happy New Year to you and yours

coffy73 writes:

in response to emailnodata:

So what??

Why do people think athletes play better with a coach harping at them rather than encouraging them??

If all you do is crab at your players, they tune you out.

Pat threw the Strick/Glory Johnson team under the bus their freshman year...and they never recovered.

At some point, coaches have to realize they recruited these players, and they are past of the wins and losses, too.

I so agree with this! I think that recruitment class of Strick/Glory were not that top tier and Coach Summitt was trying so hard to get so much out of them. By the end, I think everyone was tired and ready to call it a day; you could just see it in their faces.
The same is happening with this recruitment class, only Holly is now the driver. I know we're all a little spoiled from the glorious past, but this is a different Tenn. era and you have to adjust.

whatmeworry writes:

When Holly took over for Pat last season I wondered how they would respond.Not that well,obviously.They're following suit this season.Inconsistency and questionable shooting/decision-making are glaring weaknesses.

I'll say this:There may have been a reason other teams weren't knocking down the door to hire Warlick.Just a thought,and I hope I'm wrong,but time will tell if she has what it takes on the floor as a head coach. I'd keep Nikki Caldwell's phone number close by just in case.

underthehill writes:

in response to ps11824:

[[[ " I thought (against Stanford) we were average." said Holly. I totally agree.

Law thinks that the Lady Vols need to recoup their confidence and recall the intensity and teamwork - I totally agree.

Harrison conceded, "We kind of dug ourselves in this hole." She said a mouthful there, fans.

So now that everyone knows what's what, what will they do about? I hope they will leave it all on the court, not just tonight, but against a lesser opponent they need to play with the intensity that they are capable of, yet we have not seen in the last 2 contests.

Some of you posters want to condemn Holly as not being a deserving head coach. It sounds like she's a Pat Summitt clone, and you just can't beat that, IMHO.

I wondered how long it would take for someone to bring the "throw 'em under the bus" garbage in here. Well, emailnodata, that is a flagrant foul on you. That's just not fair. Anyone who would go there never wanted the coaching arrangement to be successful. Please nip that tired theme in the bud. It just isn't helpful. I don't think posters want to read that stuff. Do they? Speaking for myself, it hurts the situation to post such comments.

Maybe I'm a chump, but I believe we need to encourage each other and look for and comment on the positive angle. We cannot reach the team. They may or may not read GVX. I say they do. Coaches do too. Why not give it a shot and be really supportive here? I don't know about all of you, but I surely enjoy reading the supportive stuff with mild critiques rather than the negative comments which serve no purpose.

98 ..I do not think you are a chump for having your opinions..if you think others are not entitled to have different opinions ..then you are a chump..you have a right to agree with Holly..I have a right to disagree..and I did not see a lack of effort against Stanford by the players..I saw a Stanford team that was more experienced and very well coached and a young UT Lady Vols team that needs to use this game as a learning experience..I don't see that opinion as being negative and that too is my right..My hope is that this young talented Lady Vol team will continue to improve and be the best they can be..is that positive enough for you...

Volinflan writes:

So why are these igorant people still harping about Nikki Caldwell? You mean the coach at LSU that has lost to Hampton (whoever that is), Georgetown and Tulane. The same coach that has won eight games against mediocre teams? The same coach that does not have her team ranked within sight? Thanks, but I think I'll stay with Warlick.

Theo writes:

in response to coffy73:

I so agree with this! I think that recruitment class of Strick/Glory were not that top tier and Coach Summitt was trying so hard to get so much out of them. By the end, I think everyone was tired and ready to call it a day; you could just see it in their faces.
The same is happening with this recruitment class, only Holly is now the driver. I know we're all a little spoiled from the glorious past, but this is a different Tenn. era and you have to adjust.

Troll - quit responding to yourself.
There is nothing mediocre about this team. The last two recruiting classes are both top five I believe. We are just young. That is the part you should get used to. We are going to be eratic.
Regarding Holly, she is a terrific coach. Pat personally chose her as her successor. She could have chosen, Nicki, Kelly, or any other of the top 100 head coaches in the country with or without ties to UT. She chose Holly. She knows the knowledge, guts and heart that Holly has. Witness the number 1/2 class we have coming in next year.
You trolls are just trying to stir things up.
Great team this year with better things ahead.
Go Lady Vols!

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to ps11824:

[[[ " I thought (against Stanford) we were average." said Holly. I totally agree.

Law thinks that the Lady Vols need to recoup their confidence and recall the intensity and teamwork - I totally agree.

Harrison conceded, "We kind of dug ourselves in this hole." She said a mouthful there, fans.

So now that everyone knows what's what, what will they do about? I hope they will leave it all on the court, not just tonight, but against a lesser opponent they need to play with the intensity that they are capable of, yet we have not seen in the last 2 contests.

Some of you posters want to condemn Holly as not being a deserving head coach. It sounds like she's a Pat Summitt clone, and you just can't beat that, IMHO.

I wondered how long it would take for someone to bring the "throw 'em under the bus" garbage in here. Well, emailnodata, that is a flagrant foul on you. That's just not fair. Anyone who would go there never wanted the coaching arrangement to be successful. Please nip that tired theme in the bud. It just isn't helpful. I don't think posters want to read that stuff. Do they? Speaking for myself, it hurts the situation to post such comments.

Maybe I'm a chump, but I believe we need to encourage each other and look for and comment on the positive angle. We cannot reach the team. They may or may not read GVX. I say they do. Coaches do too. Why not give it a shot and be really supportive here? I don't know about all of you, but I surely enjoy reading the supportive stuff with mild critiques rather than the negative comments which serve no purpose.

@98
WADR, young lady, I was right there with you following the Lv's and reading/listening as Pat did it.....as if to wipe her hands of responsibility for her own team. I will never, ever forget that Ball State game, or the resultant "wasn't our fault" by the staff.

My point is that Holly is at a fork in the road; does she go the "us vs them" that marked the final years of Pat, of does she go a different route.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

Couple things I think you need to realize:

Holly is and will be the Coach for the foreseeable future. Plain and simple, there are not a lot out there who have demonstrated they are better.

Who are the top teams?? Baylor, only because of a freak of nature and a proven coach. UConn, ND, stanford, all with legendary coaches.

Now, as to the talent: argue with me all you wish. The proof will be there on the floor. It's a high-average team....and that's it. As I said, in the Cal range.

I think in a couple of years, Holly will have this team back to top 5....but only because the game is getting weaker, not stronger, as players like Ogwumike and Griner leave.

rockypop writes:

Not only did Pat yell at her players, she locked them out of their locker room on several occasions. Holly has to do what she thinks she ought to do to motivate her team. She's the head coach, and she'll get to live with the consequences of her actions - good or bad.

ModelMaker writes:

in response to emailnodata:

Personally, I think Stanford is WAY overrated.

They barely got by So. Carolina...only because USC missed FORTY-SEVEN shots...unbelievable.

Anyway, even with that, USC had a chance to win at the end if it makes free throws.

It will be very interesting to see how the UConn game goes for them....the question being "what do the refs dictate", of course.

Stanford has a very good defense. That might have had something to do with all the missed shots. The Lady Vols need to bring their defense up to what Stanford has.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to ModelMaker:

Stanford has a very good defense. That might have had something to do with all the missed shots. The Lady Vols need to bring their defense up to what Stanford has.

I honestly think it came down to poise.

South Carolina has no experience in those sorts of games.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to GlennFordsFoible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

@glenn
I will state this now: given the opportunity, Warlick will match or exceed Caldwell.

Warlick stayed in Knoxville because of her relationship with Summitt.

End of story there.

In addiction, if I were UT and going after an outside coach, it would be the Kentucky coach.

He is very, very good. I believe he will be the next great women's basketball coach.

ps11824 writes:

what is WADR? I'm not a young lady, so just 98 will do, please.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

@98
'young lady'
you don't look a day over 28.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to tenn32rebel:

What team are you watching? It certainly isn't the current Lady Vol team! "very, very small margin of talent..." WTH!!!!!

The lost of Draya was HUGE, especially on the defensive end. This team is one year away from starting a four-year run at two or more NCs!!!

Our weakest position is center / 5 slot. Next year, Mercedes Russell will start and only have to worry about protecting the paint. Her more experienced teammates will take carry of the rest.

We have the pieces for a NC team--Holly is putting it together NOW. Her work won't really bear fruit for two more years, so you better learn some patience!!! You will need it.

You just saw what UConn did to Stanford AT Stanford.

UConn would beat UT by 60 or more points if they played today.

The talent disparity is simply massive.

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