The sun came up this morning and the shock has worn off. Pat Summitt stood in front of her family, fans and all of women’s basketball world and gave us the 4-1-1.
It touches a nerve with me for a personal reason.
My father, Big Northside Chip, is dealing with the same situation.
He and Pat Summitt are the same age.
He and the Tennessee head coach have the same will to fight.
I’ve had a few opportunity to talk to Coach Summitt. My first was a long time ago. 1993 NCAA second round at Knoxville. I was doing radio commentary for my campus radio station who was covering the ballgame (special shoutout to all the WNUR Radio peeps for Northwestern!!) Northwestern had beaten Georgia Tech in a first-round game a few day before. Yeah, we were dreaming the dream. Survive And Advance.
Coach struck me as very regal, yet very humble. By 1993, Summitt already had three national championships. She was the face the game then as she is now. Yet, she didn’t big time anybody…even a collegiate radio crew from the opposing school. She gave us 5 good minutes and we got quite an interview. There was one thing she said, “It good to have an opportunity to play a team we’ve never seen. It’s great for the game to see more schools see the value competitive opportunities for women. We congratulate you all for being here.”
The game itself was a tough one for my team. Tennessee stomp on the pedal early and before you know it, we were down 49-8 at one point. By the time we got over the shell shock, we played well but it was too late. We lost 89-66. But, I left impressed by the grace of a great coach.