Pat Summitt on future: 'I haven't made any decision about that'

Focus is 'trying to win a championship'

Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt is all smiles as her team secures the win against Vanderbilt in the 2012 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN on Friday, March 2, 2012. Tennessee defeated Vanderbilt 68-57.  

(SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2012

Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt is all smiles as her team secures the win against Vanderbilt in the 2012 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN on Friday, March 2, 2012. Tennessee defeated Vanderbilt 68-57. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL
University of Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek, left, and Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart congratulate Tennessee coach Pat Summitt on Monday at Summitt's home after it was announced that the Lady Vols received a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. With her are assistant coach Mickie DeMoss, left, and associate head coach Holly Warlick.

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2012

SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL University of Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek, left, and Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart congratulate Tennessee coach Pat Summitt on Monday at Summitt's home after it was announced that the Lady Vols received a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. With her are assistant coach Mickie DeMoss, left, and associate head coach Holly Warlick.

Pat Summitt on her future plans

With an NCAA tournament to think about, Tennessee's Pat Summitt isn't preoccupied with her coaching future.

"Oh, I haven't made any decision about that,'' the UT women's basketball coach said after Wednesday's practice at Pratt Pavilion, "just trying to win a championship."

Summitt responded to speculation that she wanted to return next season by saying, "I haven't suggested that."

The Lady Vols, the No. 2 seed in the Des Moines (Iowa) Regional, open against No. 15 Tennessee Martin on Saturday (TV: ESPN2, 4:10 p.m.) at Allstate Arena in suburban Chicago. No. 7 DePaul and No. 10 BYU play in the other NCAA first-round game. The winners meet Monday night.

Summitt, who is in her 38th season as coach of the Lady Vols, announced in August that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type but would continue coaching. While questions persist over whether there will another season, Summitt cast her future at the university in a broader context.

"I love the game,'' the 59-year old said. "And whether I'm here at UT, I may or may not coach. So it is what it is. I'm just going to try to get another championship for this group."

Summitt's contract runs through the 2013-14 season. A clause states that if Summitt stays through the contract's duration, which would be her 40th season, she will receive a $1 million bonus.

UT associate head coach Holly Warlick said that she and Summitt haven't talked beyond this team and this season.

"I think she's just taking it each day at a time,'' Warlick said. "My expectation is she'll be here. It's her decision. I'll support her 100 percent."

For the tournament, Warlick is expected to handle media interviews, as she has throughout the season. The responsibility has been one of the more obvious examples of her expanded role, one that she conceded last month was "harder than I anticipated." But she was OK with that then and sounded like she would be OK going forward.

"Absolutely,'' she said. "It's my make-up. It would probably blow everybody's mind if I'm not at Tennessee. It would probably blow my mind, too."

Warlick seems more comfortable in her role after Tennessee's strong showing at the SEC tournament. If so, Summitt is a big reason why.

"I've gotten really great feedback from her at the SEC tournament,'' Warlick said. "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.

"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.''

Warlick sounded like Summitt in saying that she's not preoccupied with her coaching future either. She doesn't want the situation to detract from the NCAA business at hand.

"I know it can be a distraction but I don't think Pat's allowed it to be, nor any of our staff,'' Warlick said. "It hasn't been about Pat, which it has but it really hasn't. We've just really tried to focus on this team and give them the best opportunity to get better and put them in a situation to win."

Dan Fleser may be reached at 865-342-6288. Follow him at http://twitterhttpcom/FleserKNS and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/fleserhttp

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Comments » 39

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

Thank you for this article. Now...FINALLY...all the self-described "informed insiders" will have common decency to respect our coach and quit trying to predict her demise.

Such people make me sick and Coach Pat deserves better.

tovolny writes:

in response to Fall_Creek_Vols:

Thank you for this article. Now...FINALLY...all the self-described "informed insiders" will have common decency to respect our coach and quit trying to predict her demise.

Such people make me sick and Coach Pat deserves better.

Tell John Adams and "Gomer" Climer.

vicki4237 writes:

in response to Fall_Creek_Vols:

Thank you for this article. Now...FINALLY...all the self-described "informed insiders" will have common decency to respect our coach and quit trying to predict her demise.

Such people make me sick and Coach Pat deserves better.

every one should let this wonderful woman coach until she is ready to retire and quit trying to make decisions for her. way to go coach!!!

SoddyVol writes:

I think it's interesting that Pat was quoted as saying "And whether I'm here at UT, I may or may not coach. ...".
This suggests to me the possibility of taking a different title but remaining with UT. The situation is of such importance to fans, we can't help but continue to have questions. She is greatly loved.

lafollette37766 writes:

I can promise you that Coach Summitt will know when it is time for Coach Summitt to retire. She will not need anyones help on this decision.

LdyVolFaninKS writes:

I am in hopes that she stays one more year. Then she and Joan need to head south and seriously court Kim Mulkey as her replacement. Mulkey is the ONLY one that will be able to keep our fan base, recruiting and winning tradition.

mnvol writes:

in response to Fall_Creek_Vols:

Thank you for this article. Now...FINALLY...all the self-described "informed insiders" will have common decency to respect our coach and quit trying to predict her demise.

Such people make me sick and Coach Pat deserves better.

Fall_Creek, while I agree 100% with your sentiments, I totally disagree with your suggestion that the "insiders" will have common decency. You give them way too much credit.

One of my neighbors works in the Women's Athletic Department, and she's stated, "I work with Pat every day. She is not ready to retire."

tulelakevol writes:

Pat needs to tell everybody to stuff it! And I am trying to be nice! She has 10 times over earned the right, yes, I said right, to retire on her terms, no one else's. Go Pat, and go Lady Vols!!

tovolny writes:

in response to LdyVolFaninKS:

I am in hopes that she stays one more year. Then she and Joan need to head south and seriously court Kim Mulkey as her replacement. Mulkey is the ONLY one that will be able to keep our fan base, recruiting and winning tradition.

Without the 6'8" person, Kim Mulkey's name would not come up much. Examine her record without the super star.

You obviously wanted to slap our present coaching staff and all the Ex-LadyVols that might be available.

How did it feel to land that blow? I, myself just wanted to point out how swizzed and tizzed you are. As Lucy would say..."good grief Charlie Brown."

rbut5252#220065 writes:

I hope and pray that the media will respect her privacy and lay off with any questions about when she is going to retire. She certainly doesn't need the distraction and she doesn't need microphones in her face or print people with their ancient reporter pads and pencils. When she feels that we need to be told, I'm sure she'll tell us with the class and dignity that she has always displayed.

StateofEastTN (Inactive) writes:

in response to LdyVolFaninKS:

I am in hopes that she stays one more year. Then she and Joan need to head south and seriously court Kim Mulkey as her replacement. Mulkey is the ONLY one that will be able to keep our fan base, recruiting and winning tradition.

Say what?? Now that right there is funny, I don't care who you are!! Thanks for the chuckle. There isn't a coach out there in womens college basketball, Mulkey or otherwise, who could ever compare to our coach, our tradition and our family. Pat has plenty of help when she needs it right here at home. Leave her alone and everything will fall into place. As she said "It is what it is."

kazoo writes:

in response to mnvol:

Fall_Creek, while I agree 100% with your sentiments, I totally disagree with your suggestion that the "insiders" will have common decency. You give them way too much credit.

One of my neighbors works in the Women's Athletic Department, and she's stated, "I work with Pat every day. She is not ready to retire."

The Summitt sentinels are out in force! No top coach is ever ready to retire. Was Paterno ready to retire? No-and we see the result. He built the pa.state program--and then was responsible for its demise. Bowden did the same. I will assume that PS is wiser than those two--and others like them, including Fulmer.

secondcreek writes:

so sad...she looks like she has really aged a lot recently.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to LdyVolFaninKS:

I am in hopes that she stays one more year. Then she and Joan need to head south and seriously court Kim Mulkey as her replacement. Mulkey is the ONLY one that will be able to keep our fan base, recruiting and winning tradition.

Obviously the whole question of succeeding Pat--when and who--is a burning issue for everyone who loves the LV program and UT. On the one hand, there is a strong impulse to "go big". No other school puts the resources into women's basketball that UT does. We have the money to go for anybody we want. On the other hand, not every great coach necessarily wants to follow a legend. Some people want one of the many blossoming branches from Pat's vast coaching tree, but do we really want to subject one of "our own" to the crushing pressure of being Pat's immediate successor? I can think of a number of people who could be worthy successors, but the "right" person may not want the job. I'm just glad I don't have to make the decision, but I am willing to give whoever is ultimately chosen all the support my Big Orange heart can muster.

HATEaBAMA writes:

Dave Hart plus maybe one or two UT execs. will decide the future of LV BB. The BP/Cuonzo home runs are not possible in women's BB. Either UT goes for broke with a big money replacement, or LV BB is a fond memory.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Obviously the whole question of succeeding Pat--when and who--is a burning issue for everyone who loves the LV program and UT. On the one hand, there is a strong impulse to "go big". No other school puts the resources into women's basketball that UT does. We have the money to go for anybody we want. On the other hand, not every great coach necessarily wants to follow a legend. Some people want one of the many blossoming branches from Pat's vast coaching tree, but do we really want to subject one of "our own" to the crushing pressure of being Pat's immediate successor? I can think of a number of people who could be worthy successors, but the "right" person may not want the job. I'm just glad I don't have to make the decision, but I am willing to give whoever is ultimately chosen all the support my Big Orange heart can muster.

Vols,

Nice respectful comments from you all........
especially that of JohnlG.

Go Lady Vols

BigRMan writes:

in response to tovolny:

Without the 6'8" person, Kim Mulkey's name would not come up much. Examine her record without the super star.

You obviously wanted to slap our present coaching staff and all the Ex-LadyVols that might be available.

How did it feel to land that blow? I, myself just wanted to point out how swizzed and tizzed you are. As Lucy would say..."good grief Charlie Brown."

Mulkey won in 2005 with Sophia Young, now of the San Antoinio Silver Stars. She is one of the prime movers in her profession at this point. Her history at Baylor & Louisiana Tech has much merit.

BigRMan writes:

in response to Fall_Creek_Vols:

Thank you for this article. Now...FINALLY...all the self-described "informed insiders" will have common decency to respect our coach and quit trying to predict her demise.

Such people make me sick and Coach Pat deserves better.

I don't think anyone with an ounce of respect for the UT LV program and Coach Summitt is in the market for demise predictions. The disease she has is very unpredictable in the speed of how it spreads in variouis cases. No one wants to lose Coach Summitt, but no one wants to see her hard work over 38 years fall by the wayside if the program is not left in the most competent hands whenever Coach Summitt decides to or needs to step down.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Love is alive....It's a family thing....Just wait...

BigRMan writes:

The prime duties of coaches in any sport is to recruit, educate, strategize, and motivate. Coach Summitt has already left a legendary legacy. Remember, the players have a role in how a coach is perceived in historical terms also. Great players will make an average coach, a good coach, great players will make a good coach, a great coach, great players will make a great coach iconic.

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to kazoo:

The Summitt sentinels are out in force! No top coach is ever ready to retire. Was Paterno ready to retire? No-and we see the result. He built the pa.state program--and then was responsible for its demise. Bowden did the same. I will assume that PS is wiser than those two--and others like them, including Fulmer.

Comparisons to the Paterno/Penn State situation are so completely off-base, it doesn't merit a reply. However, for the record, Paterno set in motion the events that led to the demise of his program years before it actually happened.

Yes, I am a "Summitt Sentinel". The question is, why aren't you?

Tweedy writes:

What's all the stuff about the Baylor coach.??? Pat is not out yet, she will know when its time to quit. I've seen people last 4 or 5 years before they are really bad. She will know when its time. I think Tennessee has a great program, don't forget we have good coach's here already Holly W. is also a big reason Pat has done so well. Keep this thing in the house. People who have a interest in the school, who have more than a money interest are the best picks. Holly could also coach anywhere but she has chose to stay and help Tennessee. Think about it. Don't be so quick to want a flash in the pan coach. Our football team has went to the other side of bad with these outsiders. I beleive I'd take more of a chance on a UT grad. anyday.

mnvol writes:

in response to kazoo:

The Summitt sentinels are out in force! No top coach is ever ready to retire. Was Paterno ready to retire? No-and we see the result. He built the pa.state program--and then was responsible for its demise. Bowden did the same. I will assume that PS is wiser than those two--and others like them, including Fulmer.

When Coach Summitt first announced her diagnosis, she stated that she'd like to coach three more years. Her retirement may come sooner, but I doubt she'll go beyond the three years she originally stated. While I agree that Paterno and Bowden stuck around longer than they should have, I don't believe that analogy works with Coach Summitt because of her previous quote. If being supportive of someone who has had an incredibly positive impact on women's basektball, as well women's athletics in general, means that I'm a Summitt Sentinel, count me in.

CrankE writes:

"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."

Carry on...uh, Holly, Pat is still there. Right?

An article about Summitt ....somehow turns into a discussion about Warlick for the entire second half of the article. Or as they say in the world of economics these days, "Unexpectedly!"

Each new piece of info just confirm that a Kabuki theater act is being played out. UT is determined to have Warlick as the next head coach. Damn the torpedoes, damn the consequences.

BigRMan writes:

in response to CrankE:

"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."

Carry on...uh, Holly, Pat is still there. Right?

An article about Summitt ....somehow turns into a discussion about Warlick for the entire second half of the article. Or as they say in the world of economics these days, "Unexpectedly!"

Each new piece of info just confirm that a Kabuki theater act is being played out. UT is determined to have Warlick as the next head coach. Damn the torpedoes, damn the consequences.

Holly Warlick is an assistant coach at the end of the day, allbeit a fine assistant coach, but I would think the UT program would need to be entrusted in the post Summitt era, whenever that initiates, to someone who is younger, more dynamic and would be able to have clout and street cred with the young recruits that will be coming up in the future. It is well known that before Candace Parker's extensive interaction with Coach Summitt that Nikki Caldwell was the prime reason for Candace choosing UT over other schools. The situation at UT with Coach Summitt's condition is a slippery slope. As time goes by and the condition she has advances, she is going to be less and less in control of her faculties and circumstances surrounding her. I really don't have any fool proof answers to this developing dillema

BigRMan writes:

Whoever the next coach of the Lady Vols is, I think she or he should hire our own 98 reax as an assistanct coach, recruiter, scout, or motivational therapist for the team. Her devotion, skills, knowledge and loyalty have a place for financial renumeration!

BigRMan writes:

in response to tovolny:

Tell John Adams and "Gomer" Climer.

Are you sure it's Gomer and not Goober?

kazoo writes:

There are a LOT of talented coaches out there these days--and UT should be evaluating several of them. Look at McGraw at ND: she schooled us this year, and she certainly has less talent than the Vols. I don't think promoting Warlick would be wise. She's a longtime assistant, has done great work, but don't think she'd be right for the job--unless it's for a year or two in the way that Dean Smith's longtime assistant at UNC, Bill Guthrie, succeeded him for a couple of years before retiring himself. IMO, the Vols should hire a proven coach who's already running a good program and has instant name recognition and credibility--somebody like McGraw or Mulkey--or find one of the best comers in the nation, somebody dynamic at a smaller program who seems to have the smarts and personal dynamism to be a success here. Either way, UT should /search/.

GONAVY writes:

sad.

timetable writes:

Who's the dumb_ss that asked such a tacky question while they prepare for the tournement. The team's focus need to be on the task at hand, not what may or may not happen months from now. The KNS sports staff has no class at all!

phhome writes:

in response to LdyVolFaninKS:

I am in hopes that she stays one more year. Then she and Joan need to head south and seriously court Kim Mulkey as her replacement. Mulkey is the ONLY one that will be able to keep our fan base, recruiting and winning tradition.

No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

utken1942 writes:

39 or 40, Pat has been the heart of UT sports, give her the bonus, no matter what. God bless her and family

ps11824 writes:

BigRMan, thanks for kind words, but 98 is just a lowly fan; takes no skills at all.

rdberry#654521 writes:

in response to ps11824:

BigRMan, thanks for kind words, but 98 is just a lowly fan; takes no skills at all.

98:

In your case, lowly is spelled R O Y A L L Y

This is BigRMan under my other alias

AllforTenn writes:

in response to LdyVolFaninKS:

I am in hopes that she stays one more year. Then she and Joan need to head south and seriously court Kim Mulkey as her replacement. Mulkey is the ONLY one that will be able to keep our fan base, recruiting and winning tradition.

Oh, you are such an expert in your own mind. BS!

SoddyVol writes:

in response to tovolny:

Without the 6'8" person, Kim Mulkey's name would not come up much. Examine her record without the super star.

You obviously wanted to slap our present coaching staff and all the Ex-LadyVols that might be available.

How did it feel to land that blow? I, myself just wanted to point out how swizzed and tizzed you are. As Lucy would say..."good grief Charlie Brown."

Mulkey is very good but I don't think great. She does look great and is active in the coaches box. Whenever the time comes, maybe in two more years or so, I would prefer a former lady Vol. Kellie (Jolly) Harper for example. She is a young 34 years old and is doing very good at NC State in her 3rd year there. I can think of 2 or 3 others I believe would do a great job in Knoxville.

catch24rules writes:

why would we want to tarnish the program that Pat has built by bringing in Mulkey as coach. That would be like bringing in Geno. Pat has built an Honest run program, I question if the same can be said for Baylor and Ucheaters

reachkim00 writes:

As far as I am concerned, Coach Summmitt can coach as long as she wants. I Back Pat 100%... do you??

golfman1975 writes:

Can someone please tell me how PS has produced 74 coaches located all over the country and none are better than the names mentioned here? Also our coaching staff? Are you all nuts?

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