Friday, June 17, 2011
Pat Summitt inducted into Women's Hall
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Pat Summitt doesn't get overwhelmed too often. So she resorted to what's becoming an old standby as she was inducted into her fifth Hall of Fame on Friday.
The NCAA's winningest Division I basketball coach led the room in a chorus of "Rocky Top."
"I did not anticipate there being this many people, and when we drove up and I saw the people I was like, 'I wonder what they're having in this event," Summitt said.
Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt speaks Friday during her induction into the Tennessee Women's Hall of Fame.
The coach thanked her parents, family and friends, her staff and Joan Cronan, now the Volunteer's interim athletics director, after being inducted into the Tennessee Women's Hall of Fame by the state's Economic Council on Women. Summitt also deflected credit to Tennessee fans and leadership.
"There's a lot of successful people in this room, and I have a lot of great friends here. It was touching. I was very humbled," Summitt said. "But I want to keep doing the right things for women all the time."
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb and North Carolina State coach Kellie Jolly Harper were among those helping to celebrate this latest honor.
Summitt, 1,071-199 in 37 seasons, also has been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women's Sports Foundation Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
Cronan lightheartedly pointed out that one of the first questions she hears from people in her travels is whether Summitt stares at her like she does her players and referees.
She turned serious when describing the impact of sports.
"Did you know that 80 percent of the women at the top echelon of Fortune 500 companies participated in athletics? So we are making a difference teaching them more than a game, and Pat has done that so well for so many years," Cronan said.
Haslam called Summitt a role model not only for women but for anyone wanting to excel. Haslam said Summitt could have been a CEO or a lawyer arguing before the Supreme Court.
"If she were running for governor, I wouldn't be standing here," Haslam said. "It's true. It's that commitment to excellence."
At times, the tribute veered into a roast of Summitt with stories and jokes. Tennessee associate coach Holly Warlick noted Summitt was coaching her as she tried to detail how many former players now are coaches.
Balcomb, her SEC coaching rival, said Summitt called the athletic director for her when the Vanderbilt women's basketball job was open.
"I tell Pat stories usually when Pat isn't in the room, so I'm extremely nervous," she said, joking.
Balcomb remembered her first meeting with Summitt after Balcomb's Xavier team beat the Lady Vols in the NCAA tournament. That was the first time she got what she called the "Pat finger" wagging at her.
Those watching thought Summitt chewed her out and Balcomb was asked what she said. Summitt simply told her that Xavier had kicked Tennessee and deserved to win, while Balcomb could only stare up at the taller Summitt.
"Why I stay at Vanderbilt is to play against her because she is the best," Balcomb said.
Summitt said jokingly that Warlick wants her job, and she is a likely successor if she ever retires. Summitt, who turned 59 on Tuesday, said she expects to coach at least three, four or five more years. She's looking forward to the top recruits she has lined up.
"There are some teams out there I don't want to give up," she said.