This Story About Pat Summitt Taking Over A Men’s Practice Is The Best
The sports world lost a legend far too soon with the passing of Pat Summitt, the legendary coach of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers, on Tuesday morning. It has been five years since her diagnosis with early onset Alzheimer’s, and she was jut 64 years old.
Summit is well known for having won more games than anyone in the history of college basketball, man or woman. She was incredible, inspirational and has a consensus spot on the Mount Rushmore of American coaches. So it goes without say that her passing has inspired many athletes to share their greatest memories of Summitt, including one of my personal favorites from former Tennessee men’s basketball player, Brian Williams.
According to 247sports.com, the 6'10" center who played for Bruce Pearl at Tennessee from 2007-2011 took to Facebook on Tuesday to share a story about the time that Summitt got so fed up during one of their men's practices that she decided to step in and take over.
“We was goofing around and Pat was watching,” Williams wrote. “She got fed up and threw the ball, and everyone stopped. She said, ‘Run sprints, and run them fast.’”
Tennessee’s players then looked at Pearl as if to suggest, "Is she serious?"
“He looked back at us and walked away and sat down, and Pat ran the rest of practice,” Williams said. “I remember I threw up twice that day.”
Williams said that as much as they respected Summitt before that day, they only respected her more after that.
“The amount of respect we had for her was unmatched, and the lives she created for thousands will never go unnoticed,” Williams wrote. “Thanks for everything, Pat.”
Summit won eight NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championships, 16 SEC Tournament Championships and was named the Time NCAA Coach of the Year an astounding seven times. Her teams were number 1 seeds the most times in NCAA Division I tournament history (21), recorded the most wins in Most wins in NCAA tournament history (112) and the most NCAA Final Four appearances in history (18); which is six more than the men's record holder John Wooden.
Summitt was also the Naismith Coach of the 20th Century and a recipient of the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Anyone who has paid attention to the trail that Summit blazed across the course of her storied yet still-too-short career knows that she understood the game of basketball better than just about anyone who's ever been a part of the sport. This is just one of thousands of stories that people have told, and will continue to tell, about one of the most important women in American sports.
The word "legend" almost seems insufficient to describe the influence that Summitt has had on college basketball and female athletes in America. But this particular story from Williams resonates with those who really appreciated her for being, at her core, a coach. Not a women's coach or a female coach or a pioneer; just a bad ass who knew how to get people to play their best basketball.
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