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Cindy Bristow - Coaches Corner7 Lessons from a Legend
[SIZE=1.5]Not for the Money[/SIZE] – While Pat Summitt became a million dollar women’s basketball coach she didn’t start out that way. In fact, far from it. In 1974, Summit’s first year as a head coach, she was paid $8,900! It was only after winning her 1,000th game did she sign a contract for $1.4 million. Her recent contract extension places her over $1.5 million per year.
[SIZE=1.5]Staying Power[/SIZE] – If you’re not convinced she’s a winner then check out these numbers…Tennessee has been to an unprecedented 31 consecutive NCAA tournaments, has won 32 SEC Championship. And under Summitt Tennessee has won 112 NCAA playoff games – no other women’s basketball program in the country has even played in that many! University of Connecticut, while winning 7 national championships has only played in 97 playoff games, and only 81 of those are wins. And while she won an incredible 8 National Championships (more than any male or female basketball coach other than the great John Wooden) she finished 2nd 7 times before winning her first national championship! 7 times!! Winners fight harder and longer and that’s usually why they win! Oh, and her 1,098 wins – that comes out to over 28 wins a year for every one of her 38 years as a head coach! Just to give you an idea of how hard that is a team that plays in the national championship only plays 39-40 games. So winning at least 28 games a year for 38 years is unbelievable!
[SIZE=1.5]Giving Back – [/SIZE]Sure, Pat Summitt became a millionaire coaching women’s basketball, but little is made of the amount of money she’s given back to the places that gave her a chance to become a legend. Coach Summitt donated $600,000 to the University of Tennessee to be split evenly between the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Women’s Basketball Program where she coached college basketball and the University of Tennessee Martin Women’s Basketball Program where she played college basketball. This also included a $100,000 endowed scholarship for a Lady Vols basketball graduate assistance in honor of her parents in the hopes that “this gift will afford other young women the same opportunities that I had as a graduate assistant.” It wasn’t just about Pat.
[SIZE=1.5]Loyalty – [/SIZE]Pat Summitt started her career as a head basketball coach at the University of Tennessee and 38 years later she retired from the University of Tennessee. It’s rare these days to find such loyalty when coaches change jobs for the money, or administrators lose patience with progress. Because of Summitt’s loyalty to Tennessee it’s impossible to think of her without also thinking of the University of Tennessee. She demanded loyalty from her players but she wasn’t above showing it herself.
[SIZE=1.5]Make Wherever You Are the Big Time[/SIZE] – There were 35 people in the stands for her first win – 35!! Compare that to the 12,000+ fans that UT women’s basketball averaged in 2012 for their home games – making UT the leader in women’s basketball attendance for the 8th straight year in a row and 14 out of the last 15 years. Oh, and she was never above doing anything that needed to be done as she’s swept the UT basketball court, wired the scoreboard and helped sell tickets to try and get the program off the ground in the early years.
[SIZE=1.5]Not Just About Basketball[/SIZE] – While winning 8 national champions and over 1,000 basketball games, Pat Summitt graduated 100% of her players! Proving that you can win and expect academic excellence! Summitt also required her players to sit in the front rows of their classes so their professors would know who they were.
[SIZE=1.5]It’s Not About Her – [/SIZE]Faced with the knowledge that her future would not stay as sharply focused as her past, Summitt made the decision to step aside as the Head Basketball Coach at UT. Sure, the University would have allowed her to stay on as long as she could, but always thinking of others, Coach Summitt realized that stepping aside was the best thing she could do for a program she loved. Knowing when to leave is harder than knowing how to win!