With the news Wednesday that Pat Summitt was stepping down after 38 years, coaches across the country expressed their respect and admiration for the legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach.
Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb:
“Without Pat, I really don't know where women's basketball would be today. The impact she has had on the game itself is immeasurable and her influence on so many people connected with the game has been even greater. Professionally, she has been my example of how not only to win, but to win with class and dignity. I feel blessed to have gotten to know her on a personal level and experience first hand the loyalty and compassion she shows for the people in her life. It is a sad day for the game, but I am confident that we will still feel her impact in the game for a long time to come.”
Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma:
“Pat’s vision for the game of women’s basketball and her relentless drive pushed the game to a new level and made it possible for the rest of us to accomplish what we did. In her new role [as head coach emeritus], I’m sure she will continue to make significant impacts on the University of Tennessee and on the game of women’s basketball as a whole. I am thrilled for Holly [Warlick] as this opportunity is well deserved and Pat will be a huge asset to her moving forward.”
LSU coach and former Tennessee player Nikki Caldwell:
“Coach Summitt is the reason I am a coach and why I am here [at LSU] today. She gave me an opportunity to go into coaching as a graduate assistant in 1998. More importantly, she has always been there for me since I was 18 years old. She's my mentor, my friend and a part of my family and that will last forever. She has been a pioneer in opening doors for women in so many areas. Those who have played or coached for Coach Summitt always take a part of her with us wherever we go in our respective jobs. I've taken her with me in teaching young ladies to be the very best they can be. Her influence on this game, the University of Tennessee and the Southeastern Conference will always be impactful. That will continue in any role she plays.”