In the world of collegiate athletics, coaches are fired, hired, moved and replaced constantly. But in Tennessee, one matriarch has ruled her kingdom solid and strong.
In 1975, Pat Summitt took over a dormant, women's program in Knoxville. Allegedly, she had only eight players on her Volunteer squad. However, from those eight players, she created a powerhouse of winning championships that towered over legendary gurus from the men's side. She exceeded the likes of Henry Iba, UCLA's John Wooden, Kentucky's Adolf Rupp and the revered, Bob Knight.
Coach Summitt won a staggering eight, (one for each of her 1975 players) NCAA (National Collegiate Athletics Association) national titles. She reached the Final Four of the NCAA tournament a record 18 times. Each year in competition, her teams were among the Sweet Sixteen. She won 14 Southeastern Conference titles and seven National Coach of the Year awards. Her numbers alone boggled the mind.
Coach Knight said on ESPN's Mike and Mike (2/3/09) that a coach had to win 30-plus games for 30 consective years in order to equal the Volunteer icon. It was only fitting that she won number 1000 against SEC (Southeastern Conference) rival, Georgia. The game ended 73-43.
That score typified Tennesee's overall dominance in women's college basketball. Coach Summitt incorporated her patented, pressure defense, with a rythmic, motion offense and emphasized on both offensive and defensive rebounding. Her team overpowered the Georgia Bulldogs. She pressed them into frequent turnovers. She converted those turnovers into transition baskets and attempts at the free-throw line. Her players defended jump shots and forays into "the paint". They rebounded their opponents and their own misses with reckless abandon and ferocity.
After the game, Coach Summitt signed an extension which will end in 2014. She also received a $200,000 bonus for obtaining her elusive 1000th victory.
She did lose 187 game. Even Superman made some mistakes.