Holly Warlick talks about Pat, Geno and next season
Pat Summitt and Geno Auriemma paid their respects to each other Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, Holly Warlick acknowledged the exchange and was grateful for it.
“I think they have a great friendship now,” the Tennessee women’s basketball coach said.
After Connecticut tied UT for the most national championships, winning its eighth with a 93-60 victory over Louisville in New Orleans, Summitt released a congratulatory statement through her son, Tyler.
“Congratulations to Geno Auriemma and the Connecticut Huskies on a remarkable season and an eighth national title,” she said. “Geno is a proven champion and a leader in our game. My best to him, his family, his team and his staff.”
Auriemma paid tribute to Summitt, who now serves as the Lady Vols head coach emeritus after 38 seasons as head coach.
“The only person I compare myself to is Pat Summitt and to be there in that spot with her means a lot to me,” he told reporters after the game. “The fact that I tied Pat Summitt’s record puts you in the category of the greatest women’s basketball coach that ever lived.”
Said Warlick: “It was a very nice tribute for him to do that.”
Warlick also said that there’s no plans for the two programs to resume a series that ended in 2007.
Warlick met with the media at Thompson-Boling Arena and addressed a number of topics.
She said that she knew the late Maggie Dixon, the former Army coach who died in 2006 of heart problems at age 28. On Monday, Warlick received the Division I rookie coach of the year award that’s named after Dixon.
“It’s hard to get an individual award when I know how much everybody goes and puts into it,’’ said Warlick, referring to her players and staff. “Maggie was an outstanding coach and probably better yet an outstanding person.”
The threat of injury and the coaches being allowed two hours of court time with players this summer are two reasons why Warlick is not inclined to have the Lady Vols participate in the Women’s Pilot Rocky Top League.
“I’m open for discussion with them if they’re pretty strong about it,” she said, referring to league organizers. “My first thought is us staying here (on campus) and working together.”
The summer league took a hiatus last year. The previous summer, UT guard Kamiko Williams suffered a knee injury during the final night of league play.
On other matters:
Warlick said incoming freshman Jannah Tucker, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament last summer, has been cleared for workouts and will attend both sessions of summer school. The other freshmen — Mercedes Russell and Jordan Reynolds — will attend the second session, Warlick said. She also said that the nine returning players will be attending both sessions.
Warlick said that she will do a fund-raising motorcyle ride in May to Panama City, Fla., to support the Champions For A Cause Foundation created by her and former Lady Vols player/assistant Nikki Caldwell. The foundation raises funds and awareness to find a cure for breast cancer. Caldwell, now the coach at LSU, will ride to Panama City from Baton Rouge, La.