How Pat Summitt became the matriarch of modern women’s basketball

Under the guidance of coach Pat Summit, Tennessee has set the standard of excellence for women’s basketball for three decades.

Lady Vols elevated the game to a level playing that earned her eight NCAA championships, 18 Final Four games, and 1,098 victories during the Summitt tenure from 1974 to 2012. During that time, the Tennessee men’s basketball team had seven coaches, no titles and no four finals.

So, when it was inevitably suggested that Summit lead the men’s Vols program, the first college men’s or women’s basketball coach passed to reach 1,000 wins.

“I think women should help women,” she said.

Then she went even further: “I don’t want people to think I looked at the men’s match as a step forward.”

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Benita Fitzgerald Mosley turns women’s chances into Olympic gold

Teresa Phillips blew past the frontier, taking Tennessee to the next level

Susan Ross developed one of the first Memphis programs approved for women

Tracy Colkins Stockwell set the standard for women’s swimming

Sumit, as its name suggests, has never been in second place. She didn’t view women’s sports as secondary either.

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