Must-Read 1998 SI Profile of Pat Summitt

Yesterday Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt announced that she has early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. In the wake of such tragic news, take some time to read this 1998 Sports Illustrated profile of Summitt, which illustrates just how incredible a person she is.

Here’s an excerpt:

She has to lose 15 pounds, rehabilitate her knee and work out twice a day to make the Olympics … while she’s teaching four phys-ed courses at Tennessee, while she’s taking four courses to get her master’s degree, while she’s coaching the women’s basketball team. Three-mile run at 6 a.m., weights at 6:30, shower, rush to the gym to teach, dash to the lecture hall to take the exercise-physiology and sports-administration classes, sprint back to the gym to coach a 2½-hour practice, hop in the car to go scout a local high school player, burn rubber back to the gym for two hours of basketball and sprints, shower again and hightail it home by midnight to study for the biomechanics midterm.

She’s 22. She was hired to be the women’s assistant basketball coach, only to learn a few weeks later that the head coach had resigned to pursue her doctorate. She has never coached a game in her life. She has no assistant. …

At first it’s glorified intramurals, a tryout sheet posted on a bulletin board inviting women to play in front of four or five dozen fans on a shadowy floor crisscrossed by badminton, volleyball and basketball lines. Pat digs in. She sweeps floors, tapes ankles, sets out the chairs and towels, washes the uniforms on road trips. She drives the team to road games in a van, her head poked out the window to keep her awake on the drive home at 2 a.m. Behind her, her players glance at each other when the rain stops and the windshield dries and the wipers keep squeaking, squeaking, squeaking. No one musters the courage to utter a word.

She doesn’t lose 15 pounds. She loses 27. She sits on the edge of a table, pokes her foot through the handles of a sack full of bricks and lifts till her knee screams, but never when her players are around to see her. She makes the ’76 Olympic team—a co-captain and the oldest player, at 24, on the U.S. roster that shocks the field and comes home with a silver medal. She takes the Lady Vols to the Final Four seven months later, in her third year as coach. She gets her master’s degree in physical education. She has learned she can do it: She can overpower Nature and out-muscle Time—at least for a while, just like men do. She has learned, thanks to her father, about human will. How can she settle for filling her players with want now that she knows the psychic power of expect?

“Eyes Of The Storm”—SI Vault



About Josh Tinley

Josh Tinley writes the Away From The Action column at Midwest Sports Fans, covering all aspects of sport aside from what actually happens on the field, court, or track. Josh grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from the University of Evansville and Vanderbilt Divinity School. He is the author of Kneeling in the End Zone: Spiritual Lessons From the World of Sports and the managing editor of LinC, a weekly curriculum for teens that explores the intersection of faith and culture. Josh lives outside Nashville with his wife, Ashlee, and children, Meyer (7), Resha Kate (5), and Malachi (3). He will not allow himself to die before the Evansville Purple Aces make another trip to the NCAA Tournament. Follow him on Twitter @joshtinley or send him an e-mail.

Comments

  1. Harry reported on September twenty, 2012

  2. Greetings! I’ve been reading your website for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the great work!

  3. Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

  4. Here is the perfect website for any person who wants to find out about this kind of theme. You understand a whole lot the pretty much hard to be able to claim along with you (not that we genuinely want… HaHa). You certainly set the latest whirl on a subject i’m talking about recently been discussed for a long time. Excellent products, simply fantastic!

  5. Taken with the write-up of the project.br /”To protect our moving truck (with all of our points inside) within the evening prior to our move.”

  6. You made some really good points there. I looked on the internet for more info about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.

  7. Someone essentially assist to make significantly articles I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your website page and up to now? I surprised with the analysis you made to make this actual post incredible. Magnificent job!

  8. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

  9. I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble. You are amazing! Thanks!

  10. Hi, I read your blog regularly. Your story-telling style is witty, keep it up!

  11. I like the helpful info you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I’m quite sure I will learn plenty of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  12. well! More exciting content and fantastic

  13. Some genuinely good and utilitarian info on this internet site , likewise I believe the style and style contains superb attributes.

  14. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My website is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would genuinely benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Cheers!

  15. Hey very cool site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds also? I am satisfied to search out a lot of useful info right here in the publish, we’d like develop extra strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

Speak Your Mind