Baby Boomer Pat Summitt Wins #1,000

The headline is a little premature. As of today, Pat Summitt, the head coach for the University of Tennessee Volunteers women’s basketball team sits with 999 Ws on her resume. Tonight will give Pat Summitt number 1,000. One Thousand. Wins. Some coaches don’t last 1,000 games. What about this Boomer’s career?

  • She’s 57 and has been a head coach for 35 years. Remarkable. With all the political maneuvering involved in college sports, this proves winning is the only key to keeping your job.
  • Pat Summitt didn’t back into the job because the team she inherited  was so bad she couldn’t screw it up. The season before she took over, the Lady Vols were 25-2.
  • Let me do the math for you 35 years, 1000 wins is an average of 28 wins every. single. year.
  • Championships didn’t come easy. The NCAA decided in 1981 that women should have a national championship tournament.  The Lady Vols and Pat Summitt have appeared in every single tournament. It took the Lady Vols seven tries before the NCAA crown was theirs. Summitt declared recently her first NCAA title was her sweetest. (She lead the Lady Vols to seven more NCAA championships.)
  • Pat Summitt coached a perfect season in 1997 – running the table with 39 victories and no defeats.

And on, and on, and on.

How about a little Boomer perspective. Boomers are good at putting things in perspective.

  • She works with volunteers – literally as well as figuratively. Student-athletes don’t get paid to come play for Pat Summitt. One can argue that getting an education  free is a nice perk. Those people need to try to get a 17 year old to work for them for a free education alone.
  • We’re talking kids here. Ages 17-23 (?). Today Summitt says her biggest challenge is getting kids that are focused. “Seems like all they want to do now is text. I’m having that problem with this team right now – we need to get focused.”
  • Every year she loses her most experienced and sometimes best players. They graduate.
  • Pat Summitt has a 100% graduation rate. Every young woman that joins her basketball program has to perform on  two levels: scholastically and athletically.
  • She is a fantastic mentor. Forty-five of her players are now coaches themselves. Her advice to budding coaches: “study psychology.”

Washington Post writer Sally Jenkins needs to get her head screwed on straight.

I don’t know whether Summitt belongs in the same breath with a Wooden or a Bob Knight, I only know that she’s matchless, there is only one of her.

Wrong question: Jenkins should ask, does Bob Knight belong in the same breath as Pat Summitt?

With all this kind of career, what does Pat Summit have to say?

People talk about 1,000 wins,” Summitt, 56, said last week in her office. “I remind them that I’ve never scored a basket for the University of Tennessee.

flourish

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