Holly Warlick receives Maggie Dixon award for rookie coaches

Tennessee basketball coach Holly Warlick talks with player Kamiko Williams during practice at Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday, February 27, 2013.
(Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Photo by Saul Young, 2013 Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee basketball coach Holly Warlick talks with player Kamiko Williams during practice at Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday, February 27, 2013. (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Tennessee’s Holly Warlick spoke of her first season as the Lady Vols coach last week as if she were in construction.

“I think we’ve laid a foundation,” she said.

The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association honored Warlick’s work Monday night with the Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year award.

The award was announced at the WBCA convention, which is being held in New Orleans in conjunction with the Women’s Final Four.

In her first season in charge, Warlick led a relatively inexperienced Tennessee team to an SEC regular-season championship and was named the conference coach of the year. UT finished with 27 victories and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament before losing to Louisville in the Oklahoma City regional final, 86-78.

Monday’s award was given in honor of the late Maggie Dixon, the former Army coach who died in 2006 of heart problems at age 28.

Warlick, a longtime Lady Vols assistant, replaced Pat Summitt last April. The Tennessee coaching legend stepped down after 38 seasons. Warlick has paid tribute to Summitt throughout the season for her mentoring and influence. Summitt has maintained a presence

by serving as the Lady Vols head coach emeritus.

Still, Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said last week in Oklahoma City that she already detects Warlick’s influence on the program.

“I think she’s done an amazing job,” Coale said. “In many ways, it is vintage Tennessee ... All this is Tennessee and has been Tennessee for decades.

“Yet there’s a little something about ’em that’s different, and it’s hard to put a title on. I don’t really know how to even describe it. But there’s a little something different. That’s Holly Warlick. That’s the stamp she’s putting on the program.”

When the coaching change took place last April, Warlick agreed to a four-year deal with a base salary of $485,000. Summitt received a one-year deal in her new role with a salary of $354,375.

When asked last week for comment about whether Warlick’s season warrants a raise and Summitt’s future with the team, UT spokesperson Jimmy Stanton said that both topics would be addressed, “at the appropriate time.”

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Comments » 26

SummittsCourt writes:

Congrats to Coach Warlick!!!! She took a young, inexperienced, injury riddled team to the SEC regular season title and the elite 8 when most didn't think this team would be very good.

Well deserved!

ACWLY writes:

Very happy for Holly, she probably filled Coach Summitt's shoes as well as anyone could have. VFL!

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

Regardless of the fact that this was her first year as "Head Coach", based on starters lost and preseason predictions, if politics is left out of the discussion, she should warrant strong consideration for the Coach of the Year, PERIOD !!!

franpk2 writes:

Holly should not have been subjected to the harsh criticism she has been shown this season. Too many people wanted to write her off as a temp, but she has done a wonderful job. I hope she doesn't hit the "soph" wall, but she will have my support. After all, only four coaches in the entire country are better right now.

theend writes:

as an alum I am very happy to see Holly do well. She is like coach Fulmer in one respect in that she would never leave UT for another coaching job. We don't have to worry about her pulling a "kiffen" or a "pearl". The program appears to have made a smooth transition from one legend to hopefully another in the making! Congrats Holly!!

allvol9 writes:

So proud of the season the ladies had and very proud of Coach Warlick. Outstanding job. The Lady Vols are in great hands!

tnvol34 writes:

Great job Holly! No one expected us to go that far into the tournament! Congradulations! GO LADYVOLS!

adimatteo#261830 writes:

I have no problem with Holly, think all the coaching staff great for years, I concede I thought Nikki would have been great to have here, and who knows the future.
having said that, I meant to make one comment that I found disturbing, and maybe reading too much into it.
But the other day in the article about the lastgame Holly made acomment that our team had the jitters...in describing the first half performance.

I find it extremely upsetting to think that the Lady Vols, with our program and tradition, playing a fifth seed team in Elite Eight, that we would have the jitters, sad commentary, even if she felt that way, wish she didnt say it.
Again, maybe Im just overeacting, (and upset that UCONN most likely will tie our record) but that just didnt sit well.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to adimatteo#261830:

I have no problem with Holly, think all the coaching staff great for years, I concede I thought Nikki would have been great to have here, and who knows the future.
having said that, I meant to make one comment that I found disturbing, and maybe reading too much into it.
But the other day in the article about the lastgame Holly made acomment that our team had the jitters...in describing the first half performance.

I find it extremely upsetting to think that the Lady Vols, with our program and tradition, playing a fifth seed team in Elite Eight, that we would have the jitters, sad commentary, even if she felt that way, wish she didnt say it.
Again, maybe Im just overeacting, (and upset that UCONN most likely will tie our record) but that just didnt sit well.

Put yourself in the position of a coach who was facing a team, regardless of their seed, who had just beaten Baylor, don't you think you would have a certain amount of apprehension?

AllforTenn writes:

in response to adimatteo#261830:

I have no problem with Holly, think all the coaching staff great for years, I concede I thought Nikki would have been great to have here, and who knows the future.
having said that, I meant to make one comment that I found disturbing, and maybe reading too much into it.
But the other day in the article about the lastgame Holly made acomment that our team had the jitters...in describing the first half performance.

I find it extremely upsetting to think that the Lady Vols, with our program and tradition, playing a fifth seed team in Elite Eight, that we would have the jitters, sad commentary, even if she felt that way, wish she didnt say it.
Again, maybe Im just overeacting, (and upset that UCONN most likely will tie our record) but that just didnt sit well.

"I" this and "I" that. Gives me the jitters.

ps11824 writes:

franpk2 writes:
Holly should not have been subjected
to the harsh criticism she has been shown
this season. Too many people wanted to
write her off as a temp, but she has done
a wonderful job. I hope she doesn't hit the
"soph" wall, but she will have my support.
After all, only four coaches in the entire
country are better right now. ]]

You will never read a thread or listen to sports call-in episodes where everyone is pleased with the situation. Folks 'get off' on controversial matters and will stretch to create negative spin on all that we hold sacrosanct, the Lady Vols program. For that matter, it seems many will deliberately chime in to show their rear parts.

I suppose there's some thrill there for those who need to poke a snake; oh well, I choose chocolate when I need a thrill of such magnitude.

And adimatteo#261830, I respectfully disagree with your statement regarding Holly telling it like it is. Jitters don't know tradition. Tradition does not play the game. All teams are different. The Lady Vols have shown, unfortunately, that they can wilt at times. This time, as in the SEC tournament, was not a good time to allow jitters, but then, when is a good time?

As I stated before, nothing Geno does can take away ANYTHING, any record, any accomplishment Pat Summitt achieved during her coaching career. She and John Wooden will always be the Gold Standard of college basketball, always.

Records were made to be broken.

cobragolfer writes:

ps11824... as far as Geno goes, he WILL tie Pat's record TONIGHT for National Championships. Pat Head coached 9 years longer than Geno has. In 9 years from now, take a look at the records!!
As far as Holly... just wait until "her" recruits start playing. They will be looking up at the teams ahead of them in the standings.

madrigal writes:

Well, I guess Holly CAN coach! Congratulations to her on this award!

Here's a stat I bet a lot of you didn't know. I didn't until yesterday. Holly had NO returning starters...none. Of this year's starters, they missed a total of 46 games. Yet she took them to the e8. Now THAT is coaching! So they had the jitters...wouldn't you, if you were looking at the team that had just beaten Baylor? If you say no, you aren't honest, least of all with yourself. And if you say it's Holly's fault, you haven't read any of Pat's books.

Cobragolfer, you need to take your sour self off to a corner. If it weren't for Pat, Geno wouldn't be where he is today. She paved the way. Holly learned from the best. And as for Holly's recruits, are you really going to start now dissing the #2 class in the country? You might want to start thinking about how you want your crow cooked.

1volk-nowi-tall writes:

Yes Holly did a wonderful job and I expect it to continue. Speaking of Chino and all other women's coaches, Pat did set the table for them. I truly believe that male coaches in the women's game are ruining it. Look at the defense that was played by KY against Ellana DellaDone and Louisville against Griner. These two young ladies who had given so much to this sport for four years were totally abused and hung out to dry by the NCAA as they allowed these teams to mug tow of the most significant players in the game today. The defenses were designed by these two male coaches with the sole purpose of refusing to allow these two ladies to play the game they had given so much to. The physical abuse directed at them by these coaches was carries out by their players and then they had the stupidity to pretend that they had coached a masterful game. If this type of abuse is allowed to continue the game will no longer be fun to watch and the programs around the country will suffer. Contact that prevents a player from moving or effects their ability to dribble, pass, shoot or rebound the ball is a foul. Plain and simple. Such pansy officials should not be allowed to work on the same floor as these great athletes are playing on.

volfan2002 writes:

She did a great job with the team she had this season but now comes the big test for her. JMO she will have as much talent as anyone in the country next season so I think we really need to be thinking National title. In order to get there were gonna have to get tougher on defense and the intensity of our play. We had good and bad reviews this year. The low being Chattanooga and the high being the SEC regular season title. Next season is gonna bring a lot of excitement as I think were back at the top and in the hunt for the National title.

cobragolfer writes:

in response to madrigal:

Well, I guess Holly CAN coach! Congratulations to her on this award!

Here's a stat I bet a lot of you didn't know. I didn't until yesterday. Holly had NO returning starters...none. Of this year's starters, they missed a total of 46 games. Yet she took them to the e8. Now THAT is coaching! So they had the jitters...wouldn't you, if you were looking at the team that had just beaten Baylor? If you say no, you aren't honest, least of all with yourself. And if you say it's Holly's fault, you haven't read any of Pat's books.

Cobragolfer, you need to take your sour self off to a corner. If it weren't for Pat, Geno wouldn't be where he is today. She paved the way. Holly learned from the best. And as for Holly's recruits, are you really going to start now dissing the #2 class in the country? You might want to start thinking about how you want your crow cooked.

And you Madrigal, need to get yourself one or two more partners and start singing the blues when the Lady Vols keep sliding down the standings. Geno OWNS Pat in the big game. That's why she stopped playing him. And for overall records, Geno has a higher winning percentage. Like I said, check the record books in 9 years. Geno paved his own way.

adimatteo#261830 writes:

in response to ps11824:

franpk2 writes:
Holly should not have been subjected
to the harsh criticism she has been shown
this season. Too many people wanted to
write her off as a temp, but she has done
a wonderful job. I hope she doesn't hit the
"soph" wall, but she will have my support.
After all, only four coaches in the entire
country are better right now. ]]

You will never read a thread or listen to sports call-in episodes where everyone is pleased with the situation. Folks 'get off' on controversial matters and will stretch to create negative spin on all that we hold sacrosanct, the Lady Vols program. For that matter, it seems many will deliberately chime in to show their rear parts.

I suppose there's some thrill there for those who need to poke a snake; oh well, I choose chocolate when I need a thrill of such magnitude.

And adimatteo#261830, I respectfully disagree with your statement regarding Holly telling it like it is. Jitters don't know tradition. Tradition does not play the game. All teams are different. The Lady Vols have shown, unfortunately, that they can wilt at times. This time, as in the SEC tournament, was not a good time to allow jitters, but then, when is a good time?

As I stated before, nothing Geno does can take away ANYTHING, any record, any accomplishment Pat Summitt achieved during her coaching career. She and John Wooden will always be the Gold Standard of college basketball, always.

Records were made to be broken.

I dont really disagree.

I am one of those always upset when folks bash the ladies, reality is, wer'e spoiled, I get that.And I include myself even though I try not to be.

Just frustrating when it appears (loss to Louisville), not so much that you got beat, but that you really didnt come out strong for the first half.

As I said, may be overeacting sicne I am no UCONN fan, been following Lady Vols way too long.

I just felt that they really missed a golden opportunity, thing s fell into place to get to the Final Four, which means so much in terms of PR, recruits, etc...

Tonight Im the biggest Louisville fan around, although my hunch is wont even be close, UCONN smells blood

TommyJack writes:

in response to adimatteo#261830:

I have no problem with Holly, think all the coaching staff great for years, I concede I thought Nikki would have been great to have here, and who knows the future.
having said that, I meant to make one comment that I found disturbing, and maybe reading too much into it.
But the other day in the article about the lastgame Holly made acomment that our team had the jitters...in describing the first half performance.

I find it extremely upsetting to think that the Lady Vols, with our program and tradition, playing a fifth seed team in Elite Eight, that we would have the jitters, sad commentary, even if she felt that way, wish she didnt say it.
Again, maybe Im just overeacting, (and upset that UCONN most likely will tie our record) but that just didnt sit well.

methinks you're too picky.

r2d2 writes:

I respect Coach Auriemma's record at UCONN. However, he has been the recipient of some lucky breaks to win 7 NCs. Maya Moore played for him because Pat Summitt was a divorced woman. UCONN defeated Stanford 3 years ago for the NC because Stanford's best player, Janet Appel, was injured. If he wins tonight, and he probably will, it is because Kim Mulkey allowed Louisville to score 82 points on her defense. This should not have happen with Brittney Griner, Odyssey Sims and Brooklyn Pope on her team. Louisville will not score 82 points on UCONN and UCONN could not have defeated Baylor.

Volinflan writes:

in response to volfan2002:

She did a great job with the team she had this season but now comes the big test for her. JMO she will have as much talent as anyone in the country next season so I think we really need to be thinking National title. In order to get there were gonna have to get tougher on defense and the intensity of our play. We had good and bad reviews this year. The low being Chattanooga and the high being the SEC regular season title. Next season is gonna bring a lot of excitement as I think were back at the top and in the hunt for the National title.

volfan... I hope you're right about the National title next year but, methinks, there may be a little to much in the way. We'll only have one senior although we will have experienced juniors (and of course Graves). UCONN, Duke and a few others will be loaded with seniors and experience. The Lady Vols have shown they will be strong favorites for a Final Four. In 2014-2015 season we'll have four seniors backed up by a lot of talent. (hopefully some to be recruited yet that are good enough to break the starting lineup). Again in 2015-2016 the Vols will have 3 seniors, four juniors and players to be named later. I know that just being a "senior or junior" doesn't mean anything, but these are Good Seniors with a lot of playing time.

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

I am rutting for the Ville to win but I'm afraid Conn is like a great marathon runner. A team might keep pace stride for stride in the beginning but Conn is that runner that once he breaks away from the pack , the gap widens all the way to the finishline.
Lady Vols prepare to get #nineNnashville

kazoo writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Congrats to Coach Warlick!!!! She took a young, inexperienced, injury riddled team to the SEC regular season title and the elite 8 when most didn't think this team would be very good.

Well deserved!

The team was not "inexperienced." We had one freshman in the starting five. Spani and Williams--seniors. Izzy and Massengale--sophs. Simmons--junior. I like Holly but...Coates says this was "vintage Tennessee." Nice words from her--but we haven't been the Final Four in six years. What is "vintage" about that...

kazoo writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

Put yourself in the position of a coach who was facing a team, regardless of their seed, who had just beaten Baylor, don't you think you would have a certain amount of apprehension?

I too was appalled at our panicky play against Louisville--from the very start of the game. NO, i don't think we should have been apprehensive--and it is the coaches job to get rid of any apprehension. Did Louisville have "jitters" against Baylor? No, they had the guts and the toughness we've lost--Baylor thumped us four straight and our nervous shooters were rather sad in every one of those losses (under 30 percent shooting in each of those games, I believe). We've got 8 national titles and Louisville has ZIPPO. Who should have the jitters? Does Connecticut come out and play "jittery?" No, they come out and put the hammer down.

So I find much of this fan talk about plucky little Tennessee getting all the way to the Elite Eight a bit depressing--evidence of how far we've fallen. We've got a bench full of top 20 recruits. Louisville didn't. I respect Holly, but forgive me for not quite buying all this blather about she took a sad, pathetic group of waifs--athletic castoffs--and somehow, against all odds, beat oral roberts, creighton and oklahoma (a team TRULY battered by injuries). Let's get real.

madrigal writes:

in response to cobragolfer:

And you Madrigal, need to get yourself one or two more partners and start singing the blues when the Lady Vols keep sliding down the standings. Geno OWNS Pat in the big game. That's why she stopped playing him. And for overall records, Geno has a higher winning percentage. Like I said, check the record books in 9 years. Geno paved his own way.

That isn't why Pat stopped playing Geno and you know it, but I'm sure you'll never admit it. UConn and a whole lot of other programs would never have evolved at all if it hadn't been for the pioneers of the women's game, and Pat was a major one. Some of those programs are pretty much gone now, but UT isn't and isn't going to be. You just wish it would.

volinlm writes:

Women's college basketball, in it's current state, owes it all to Pat Summit. Her success has brought other programs along like Connecticut, Notre Dame, Baylor, etc. We are very fortunate that she left us a Head Coach who learned from the best. Great year, Holly. Good luck next year.

ModelMaker writes:

in response to kazoo:

I too was appalled at our panicky play against Louisville--from the very start of the game. NO, i don't think we should have been apprehensive--and it is the coaches job to get rid of any apprehension. Did Louisville have "jitters" against Baylor? No, they had the guts and the toughness we've lost--Baylor thumped us four straight and our nervous shooters were rather sad in every one of those losses (under 30 percent shooting in each of those games, I believe). We've got 8 national titles and Louisville has ZIPPO. Who should have the jitters? Does Connecticut come out and play "jittery?" No, they come out and put the hammer down.

So I find much of this fan talk about plucky little Tennessee getting all the way to the Elite Eight a bit depressing--evidence of how far we've fallen. We've got a bench full of top 20 recruits. Louisville didn't. I respect Holly, but forgive me for not quite buying all this blather about she took a sad, pathetic group of waifs--athletic castoffs--and somehow, against all odds, beat oral roberts, creighton and oklahoma (a team TRULY battered by injuries). Let's get real.

There is a difference between "bashing" and good constructive criticism. I thought your post was good constructive criticism.

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