Holly Warlick: 'It's my will to make sure that I take care of Pat'

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee women's basketball coach Holly Warlick and coach emeritus Pat Summitt were recognized during the Georgia State game at Neyland Stadium on Sept. 8.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee women's basketball coach Holly Warlick and coach emeritus Pat Summitt were recognized during the Georgia State game at Neyland Stadium on Sept. 8.

Holly Warlick on Basketball Practice

Taber Spani on Basketball Practice

Pat Summitt didn't issue a statement last Friday necessarily for the benefit of Holly Warlick.

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.

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Comments » 8

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

If there are two classier people than our head coach and head coach emeritus, bring them on. If we can get Russell, Davis and Harper in the fold it will blow the roof of the womens basketball world. I'm praying!!!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Yep. Go vols.

SummittsCourt writes:

Russell wouldn't be making this visit if she wasn't seriously considering UT. I know she has widdled her choices to UT and Louisville, but my gut says she is leaning towards UT.

madrigal writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Russell wouldn't be making this visit if she wasn't seriously considering UT. I know she has widdled her choices to UT and Louisville, but my gut says she is leaning towards UT.

The thing that could be pulling her towards Louisville is the presence of the Schimmel sisters, Shoni and Jude, who would be an Oregon connection. I'm not sure, but they may be from the same high school or possibly the same AAU team.

Mama_Also_Calls_Me_Precious writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

If there are two classier people than our head coach and head coach emeritus, bring them on. If we can get Russell, Davis and Harper in the fold it will blow the roof of the womens basketball world. I'm praying!!!

Russell, Davis, Harper..Don't forget Tucker, who has already signed. It would do more than blow the doors off the basketball world, it would totally negate UConn and UNC's great recruiting classes and put us in position to dominate WCBB for years to come. Just imagine that talent PLUS the already awesome talent we have this year. Wow, just mind boggling..

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

I didn't mention Tucker because we already knew where she was going. By the way, you shouldn't use foul language on your posts such as UConn.LOL

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

The women's game is wideopen again once Griner graduates. She is a totally dominate player much like CP3 and Maya Moore. I think 2013 will be a special class for us much like the class with Glory and Strickland. I still feel that was a winning class just couldn't get over the hump without a healthy center. With Russell we will have a winning class for years to come.

TheEffect writes:

It will be interesting to watch how Warkick makes her own identity.....some big shoes to fill.

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