18 April 2012

The End of an Era in Women's Basketball

Today, legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summitt stepped down after 38 seasons and 8 championships with the University of Tennessee Lady Vols.  Not to mention her record-breaking (for the men's and women's game) 1,098 wins.  Her decision to step down comes after her diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer's.  Technically, she is still staying on with the program as a "Coach Emeritus" and will mentor players as much as she's able.

This woman made the women's game what it is.  Without Coach Summitt, I probably wouldn't have played basketball. In a way, I feel like Pat Summitt was every girl's coach. I grew up dreaming of playing for the Lady Vols.  I would pretend I was on her team as I shot around on the driveway every day of the summer.  I hung on every word she said in an interview.  She was tough on her players and I admired that.  Without ever meeting her, she made me a better basketball player.  I remember visiting Knoxville when I was in high school. The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame too.  There was something about the energy there, and being in the same place as so many of the greats of women's basketball.

The women's game changed today.  And I kind of wish I had that gaudy orange Lady Vols t-shirt here at IU with me right now so I could put it on and ball it up in the parking lot -- pretending Coach Summitt was watching -- just like the good old days.

For more on Coach Summitt check out this Washington Post article.

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