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.
Title IX, the federal law which opened up opportunities that no little girl previously could have dreamed of, celebrates its 40th anniversary this summer. But Pat Summitt, who stepped aside today as the Tennessee women’s basketball coach, put a face on Title IX. She showed us exactly what we’d been missing and what was possible. Showed us it was possible to be a lady, a leader, a competitor and a winner.
Here’s what Oklahoma women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale had to say today about Summitt:
“Pat is one of those rare individuals whose influence crosses all boundary lines,” Coale said in a statement. “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.”
One of my favorite moments on this job came last fall. It was on that sad day late last summer when Summitt announced she was battling the early onset of dementia. We had just hired Travis Haney as our new OU football writer. Recalling that during our interview Travis had talked about covering Summitt’s Lady Vols as a student journalist at the University of Tennessee, I called him to ask his thoughts on the news. He was devastated, and told me a story about his relationship with Summitt. I asked him to share that story with our readers, which he did in this blog.
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 15916Oklahoma storms: Profile of Life: Megan and Case Futrell
- 15914Live blog: "The Voice" Season 4 live finale - performance episode
- 11583Police shoot, kill man holding child hostage in Midwest City
- 11309'Firehouse' in Oklahoma City's Deep Deuce is set to become new home
- 10923Norman man threatens Oklahoma Gov. Fallin's 'child' and local sheriff in emails
- 10033OKC Central: Architectural "Worsts"
- 7498Dillon Overton rips former Sooners coach Sunny Golloway on Twitter
- 6996Was Special Treatment Given in Oklahoma Vice Mayor DUI Traffic Stop?
- 6944Red meat might be delicious, but not as nutritious
- 6781Brad Lund granted two-year lease to Taft Stadium for soccer team
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients