Holly Warlick on Basketball Practice
Taber Spani on Basketball Practice
There were more pressing matters to address. A sworn affidavit from Summitt had been made public as part of former Lady Vols media relations director Debby Jennings' amended lawsuit against the university and athletic director Dave Hart. The affidavit raised questions about the manner in which Summitt stepped down in April to become head coach emeritus. So Summitt responded by reaffirming the decision was hers and that she never felt she was being "forced out" as head coach after 38 years.
Still, Summitt included first-year head coach Warlick in her remarks by saying, "I have welcomed and enjoyed my new role as head coach emeritus, and I am excited for the opportunities that now await my dear friend and colleague Holly Warlick as head coach."
Warlick, a UT assistant for the last 27 years, appreciated the gesture and made her own statement of sorts Monday while hosting a golf tournament at Egwani Farms.
"It's not my job, it's my will to make sure that I take care of Pat," Warlick said. "I was not going to be a part of anything that was forced or whatsoever. Pat came to me and said this is what I'm going to do and I supported her.
"Her health and her friendship means so much more to me than being a colleague, that sort of thing."
Warlick said that last week's controversy hasn't had a negative impact on Tennessee's recruiting, which is reaching a critical juncture. Guard Linnae Harper, ranked fifth in the class of 2013 by ESPN HoopGurlz, is on campus for an official visit. Center Mercedes Russell, the top-ranked player in the class, will headline a group of five players visiting the weekend of Oct. 20.
Furthermore, Warlick said that any ripple effect from Summitt being diagnosed with early onset dementia Alzheimer's type extended only as far as last April's coaching transition.
"I think once they announced me as the head coach, the recruiting went on as usual,'' Warlick said. "We haven't had any ramifications."
Guard Rebekah Dahlman, ranked No. 16 in the class, is not visiting the weekend of Oct. 20 as originally scheduled. UT being a late entrant in her recruitment is believed to be the reason why it might be out of the mix.
Warlick can't comment on specific recruits. But she can crunch numbers and said the Lady Vols hope to sign four and are open to adding six players for next season.
"It depends on who wants to come,'' Warlick said. "We've put it out there and the first ones who want to take the offer, then bring it, come on."
Monday's tournament, which benefitted the foundation started by Warlick and former Lady Vol Nikki Caldwell to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research, went on despite rainy the weather.
"I said we're combining golf and swimming in one
event," Warlick said.