“While I’m certainly sad to hear that Pat is stepping down as the head coach at the University of Tennessee, I think today is really a time to celebrate Pat’s amazing accomplishments and everything she has done to help bring the sport of women’s basketball to where it is today. The word ‘legend’ can sometimes be overused in sports, but in Pat’s case, that’s exactly what she is. Pat has set the bar so high for all of us, not only with the success her teams have enjoyed on the court, but the way she has carried herself off the court, with such class, dignity and grace. It’s a standard of excellence that likely will never be matched in our game, and I feel fortunate and honored to have had the opportunity to coach against her, and to learn from her during my career. All of us at Notre Dame wish for her good health and happiness in her new role as head coach emeritus at Tennessee. We know that the Lady Vol program will remain strong and vibrant with Holly Warlick as head coach, and we wish her much success.”
WBCA CEO Beth Bass:
“When you think of women’s basketball, you think of Pat Summitt. She is the first female coach whose name literally has become synonymous with her sport.
“Of course, we all know her record — the thousand victories, the eight national championships, and so on — but we’ll never be able to adequately put into words the contributions Pat has made to women’s basketball and, specifically, to the women’s basketball coaching profession. She is a mentor, role model and inspiration to so many. All coaches of girls’ and women’s basketball have her to thank in large part for the success our game now enjoys.
“Pat is a founding member of the WBCA. She was present in the meeting held during the Olympic Festival in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1981, to discuss the formation of a women’s basketball coaches association. She has been a member and tremendous supporter of the WBCA ever since. We will forever be indebted to her for what she has done through the years for this association.”
Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director:
Basketball in general, not just women’s basketball, owes so much to Pat Summitt. She is obviously one of basketball’s all-time greats. She has played a significant part on three different U.S. Olympic Teams, as a player, assistant coach and head coach, and she has taught so many young players about life through basketball. Coach Summitt’s legacy is seen every summer when USA Basketball fields teams for international basketball competitions. From the junior to the senior level, some of her current or former players are almost always listed on USA Basketball rosters. We will miss seeing her pacing the sidelines and wish her nothing but the best as she undertakes her new challenge as head coach emeritus.
Pat is one of those rare individuals whose influence crosses all boundary lines. Literally thousands of coaches in a vast array of sports abide by her tenets, passing them on as gospel to their players. Her name is synonymous with the sport of women’s basketball, and yet I believe it is her leadership style–her way of achieving, if you will, that will be her most dominant legacy.
On a personal level, I feel unbelievably blessed to have had the opportunity to compete against her. I, and an entire generation of women’s basketball coaches, will always be indebted to her for the culture of excellence she helped to create in our sport. It is on the foundation of relevance that her success helped carve that we and others like us have built our programs.
Pat’s vision for the game of women’s basketball and her relentless drive pushed the game to a new level and made it possible for the rest of us to accomplish what we did,” Auriemma said in a statement. “In her new role, I’m sure she will continue to make significant impacts on the University of Tennessee and on the game of women’s basketball as a whole.
“I am thrilled for Holly (Warlick) as this opportunity is well deserved and Pat will be a huge asset to her moving forward.”
Tennessee can and does sell its eight NCAA titles and 18 NCAA Final Four appearances, its large and passionate fan base, its track record for producing Olympians and pro players. Ultimately, though, most recruiting deals are closed by the head coach, and now the recruits know exactly who that will be: Warlick.
She will have to personally and philosophically adjust to that. She is no longer the first lieutenant; she is the captain. She has to think that way. Her touching deference to Summitt this season was 100 percent genuine, but now she is the boss.
That is a change, even for someone who has prepped for the role as long as Warlick has. She can’t replicate Summitt’s personality or larger-than-life aura. Nobody can. There will never be another Pat Summitt.
But Warlick has her own life story of goals, of hardships — her father died when she was in high school, and she had to grow up quickly — and of dreams. Like Summitt, Warlick is a native of Tennessee, and her roots are sunk just as deeply into the state.
Mike Sherman, Oklahoman: Rooting for Pat Summitt
The truth is sports editors do have a rooting interest.
Many of us root for the story, and early last month several of us in The Oklahoman sports department we were rooting for Pat Summitt to make one last trip to Oklahoma City.
It was the days leading up to the release of the women’s NCAA Tournament bracket, and some of us around the office were hoping Tennessee would be assigned to the Norman Regional. We wanted one more chance to write about Summitt’s impact on her sport, all of sports and American culture. I’m trying to think of a more important woman in the history of American sports, and I can’t.
Zac Ellis, Sports Illustrated: Summitt made basketball matter at football-crazed Tennessee