But here — the Elite Eight — is a place that Warlick and the Vols have been. During her years as Summitt's assistant, Warlick was part of 949 of Summitt's 1,098 wins. She was there for the 14 SEC regular season titles, 14 SEC Tournament championships and eight national championships.
“Here is what Holly has done,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. “Honestly, what a tough job. Seriously do you want to follow Pat Summitt?
“Holly has put her personality on that team. She jumps around the sidelines, has a lot of energy, passion, yet she's fun, has some humors wound up in all that. I think her team is feeding off that.”
But here's what Warlick hasn't done: changed the winning foundation laid by those who came before her. Warlick said she knew she could never be Pat Summitt, but she needed a way to carry on the tradition in her own way — of attacking the paint and forcing the opponent to make a tough shot like the Vols did in the first and second halves against Oklahoma.
That's the significance of the baton and the significance of this so-far Elite Eight run.
“We want to make sure we carry on that tradition,” Warlick said. “There is a new group, a new staff, but we still have the same belief that we're Tennessee and we're going to represent Tennessee and Pat Summitt to the best of our ability.”