Sunday, February 08, 2009

1000 Wins!

I'm a huge basketball fan and I absolutely love women's college and pro basketball. If there's a women's game on the tube, whether it's the NCAA college ranks, the WNBA, the Olympics or FIBA worlds, I'm watching it.

I was pleased to hear that legendary University of Tennessee women's head coach Pat Summitt accomplished a coaching milestone that even a male head basketball coach has yet to reach.

On February 5 she became the first NCAA Division I coach to record 1000 wins when her freshman laden Lady Volunteer team defeated Georgia 73-47.

The now 56 year old Pat Summitt has been the Lady Vols coach since 1974. She was hired at age 22 as the head coach after being named as a graduate assistant while working on her masters in physical education.

She won a silver medal with the USA women's team at the Montreal Games in 1976 and eight years later coached Team USA to a gold medal at the LA Games. She was part of the inaugural class of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999 and in 2000 was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as well.

She has also inspired 45 of her own players to become coaches in their own right.

Summitt has been busy rewriting the NCAA record books as well. In addition to owning the record for most NCAA wins, she led the Lady Vols to their eighth national championship and 18th Final Four last year, both NCAA records. She's only two titles shy of tying legendary UCLA men's coach John Wooden for the most NCAA titles with 10. She has the most NCAA tournament victories with 104 in 123 games played, and has coached 18 seasons in which her team won more than 30 games, including a perfect 39-0 championship season in 1997-98.

Congratulations Coach Summitt for winning her 1000th game and for all she's done to elevate women's basketball to the respect level it deserves.


Polar said...

Bob Knight has said several times that Pat Summit is the finest coach in college basketball. I completely agree. Her players play hard but fair, they play fundamentally correct basketball, are well-trained on defense, attend class without fail, never have NCAA issues, and graduate with degrees. She is far from the only coach in women's college basketball who does a fine job, and many women's college coaches could teach their methods to the men's team coaches at their universities.

Monica Roberts said...

So true. C. Vivian Stringer, the late Kay Yow, Tara Vanderveer and others also fit that mold as well.

Unfortunately she didn't get win number 1001 tonight. They were beaten by Florida.