Jim Foster, Sue Wicks laud Summitt's vision for Hall of Fame

Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Jim Foster acknowledged Pat Summitt and her role in making the hall possible during his acceptance speech Saturday night at the Bijou Theatre.

Foster, the former coach at Vanderbilt, recalled a conversation with the former Tennessee coach in Jackson, Tenn., the initial planned site for the hall.

“I had nowhere near the vision she had but I knew walking out of that room that anything Summitt-driven

would happen,” said Foster, the coach at Chattanooga.

Foster was one of six inductees who were honored. Inductee Sue Wicks, a former All-American at Rutgers, also thanked Summitt for “her vision for making this happen.”

Inductee Jennifer Rizzotti recalled getting booed off the court at Thompson-Boling Arena during her senior year. The Connecticut point guard had played a part in the Huskies ending the Lady Vols’ 69-game home winning streak. She received a much warmer reception for this visit.

“I’m in the Hall of Fame because I played at the right school, at the right time with the right teammates,” said Rizzotti, who then referred to UConn coach Geno Auriemma in saying: “And I was taught to be a champion by the best coach who’s ever coached the game.”

Texas A&M coach Gary Blair spoke from a prepared text. He drew a big laugh when saying how often he had missed his wife’s April 1 birthday because he was attending the Women’s Final Four. He said her stock reply was “If you were any (darn) good, we would’ve celebrated together at the Final Four.”

Inductee Peggie Gillom-Granderson coined the acronym “LWMIK” in talking about Van Chancellor, her coach at Ole Miss.

“Luckiest white man I know,” Gillom-Granderson said.

Inductee Annette Smith-Knight was upstaged by Fran Harris, her video presenter. Harris, who played at Texas, described her former teammate as having “a butt that had its own zip code.”

When Smith-Knight reached the podium, she said: “I know you all are looking at my butt.”

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Comments » 11

SummittsCourt writes:

Pat Summitt has obviously been the driving force for women's basketball. Her greatness knows no boundaries.

UTFAN1993 writes:

“And I was taught to be a champion by the best coach who’s ever coached the game.”

Although Rizzotti was a great player, an average coach, I differ in my opinion as to who is the best coach. The greatest coach who has ever coached the game is right here in Knoxville AND always will be. I say that not because of the number of wins, but for what she has given to the development of the game.There isn't another coach, outside of their own arena,who has done as much to promote women's basketball, than Coach Pat Summitt.

Ichabod writes:

Coach gets fired, and weeks later, ends up in the 'Hall of Fame'. Who does he think he is, Phil Fulmer ? I am sure the 3 to 4 people who visit this Mecca each week, will pause at this latest inductee to 'greatness'. I mean, how many more can they put in there? Greatly devaluing the brand, when having sat on a bench, or put on a jersey allows you to be in the same venue as PHS.
That place is a joke.........

GOJO writes:

I believe it was 1979 that a highschool women's basketball coach was lamenting Tennessee H.S. girls basketball going from 6 on 6 to 5 on 5. His statement was, "only Pat Head could pull that off."

arkyvol writes:

apparently, ms. rizzotti got some of her class from her old coach as well.

mikeypanic writes:

whats pats record vs geno in national championship games?

waiting...

utclassof67 writes:

in response to mikeypanic:

whats pats record vs geno in national championship games?

waiting...

It is said that many players reflect the character of their coaches. In Rizzoti's case, that seems to be true...classless and rude. What a classless thing to say in Knoxville TN!!

madrigal writes:

in response to Ichabod:

Coach gets fired, and weeks later, ends up in the 'Hall of Fame'. Who does he think he is, Phil Fulmer ? I am sure the 3 to 4 people who visit this Mecca each week, will pause at this latest inductee to 'greatness'. I mean, how many more can they put in there? Greatly devaluing the brand, when having sat on a bench, or put on a jersey allows you to be in the same venue as PHS.
That place is a joke.........

Vanderbilt was at its best with Foster coaching (Melanie Balcomb's best teams mostly wore an X, not a V). The Big Ten does just not get the quality recruits that the SEC does, although some places think they do. Foster took most of his teams to the NCAA so quit cracking on him. He's got his retirement taken care of, and if he wants to coach in a lower pressure environment for his last years, why not? I'm betting UTC shows some improvement, and maybe they will at least be in shape. The conditioning of some of their players last year was appalling.

cobragolfer writes:

in response to utclassof67:

It is said that many players reflect the character of their coaches. In Rizzoti's case, that seems to be true...classless and rude. What a classless thing to say in Knoxville TN!!

Knoxville, Storrs... who cares where she said it ... it was RIGHT!! Pat NEVER beat Geno in a National Title Game!!

madrigal writes:

When Pat beat Geno in the NCAA it was a case of taking care of UConn *before* the title game. Blame the bracketers for that one.

SoddyVol writes:

in response to cobragolfer:

Knoxville, Storrs... who cares where she said it ... it was RIGHT!! Pat NEVER beat Geno in a National Title Game!!

Regardless, I still think it's funny that Pat beat Geno all three of the last three times they played against each other. She became determined and he couldn't beat her even with his underhanded recruiting. ***Two of those games were played in Connecticut with only one in Knoxville.

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