Press Release

Posted by Gracie Blackburn on April 18, 2012

ESPN’s Coverage Plans Surrounding Summitt

PRINT VERSIONFILED IN: College Basketball - Women's

Reaction from ESPN President and Analysts 

Beginning tonight, ESPN will celebrate the career of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt across multiple platforms after it was announced today that Summitt has been named head coach emeritus following 38 seasons, with Holly Warlick assuming head coaching duties.

ESPN President and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks, John Skipper, “Pat Summitt’s legacy as one of the all-time greatest coaches and leaders in any sport is firmly in place. Her impact on women’s basketball, the athletes who played for her and the many lives she continues to inspire with her grace and courage cannot be captured in mere words. We wish her the best.”

ESPNU and ESPN3 will carry Tennessee’s formal press conference of the announcement live Thursday, April 19, at 1:30 p.m. ET. SportsCenter will also offer coverage with George Smith reporting from Knoxville, Tenn.

DateTime (ET)GameNetwork
Wed, Apr 189 p.m.1996 Women’s National Semifinal: Connecticut vs. TennesseeESPN Classic
 11 p.m.1996 Women’s Championship: Tennessee vs. GeorgiaESPN Classic
Thu, Apr 191 a.m.1997 Women’s Midwest Regional Final: Connecticut vs. TennesseeESPN Classic
3 a.m.1997 Women’s National Championship: Old Dominion vs. TennesseeESPN Classic
7 a.m.2011 Women’s Sweet 16: Ohio State vs. TennesseeESPN Classic
9 a.m.1998 Women’s National Championship: Tennessee vs. Louisiana TechESPN Classic
 10:30 a.m.2007 Women’s National Championship: Rutgers vs. TennesseeESPNU
11 a.m.Tennessee vs. Connecticut (2000)ESPN Classic
Noon2008 National Championship: Stanford vs. TennesseeESPNU
1 p.m.2007 Women’s National Championship: Rutgers vs. TennesseeESPN Classic
1:30 p.m.Live Tennessee Press ConferenceESPNU, ESPN3 & SportsCenter
3 p.m.1996 Women’s National Semifinal: Connecticut vs. TennesseeESPN Classic
5 p.m.1996 Women’s National Championship: Tennessee vs. GeorgiaESPN Classic
7 p.m.Connecticut vs. Tennessee (2001)ESPN Classic
9 p.m.2008 Women’s National Championship: Stanford vs. TennesseeESPN Classic
11 p.m.1997 Women’s National Championship: Old Dominion vs. TennesseeESPNU
11 p.m.2012 Women’s Regional Semifinal: Kansas vs. TennesseeESPN Classic

Below is today’s reaction from basketball analysts Carolyn Peck and Kara Lawson, both with ties to Summitt. Peck, began her coaching career as an assistant at Tennessee under Summitt (1993-95) and Lawson played for the legendary coach as a Lady Vol from 1999-2003, with three NCAA Women’s Final Four appearances during that time.

Carolyn Peck appeared on SportsCenter today to discuss Summitt:

On Summitt this season:

“This year she showed great courage after the announcement of the disease, early onset dementia, and throughout the season I can’t imagine how tough that was on her – for her players, for her staff – to be there every day but in a different role. You could tell the disease has had some effect on her.”

On Summitt’s new impact:

“It’s priceless. Pat Summitt is still Pat Summitt. She will be the icon around that program that you can put your hands on. She made it, she built it, she set a standard for it. Pat wasn’t up on the sidelines this year, but she still had that individual effect on each of the players for getting the most out of them. She’s a great motivator, fantastic teacher and a great role model. “

On Warlick:

“Holly has a great passion for the game. Holly was on the staff when I started at Tennessee. She’s tremendous relating to the players. She’s been with Pat the longest. If anybody has absorbed the most from Pat, I would say it would be Holly. She is the ideal person to carry on the traditions of the Tennessee Lady Vols.”

Kara Lawson also appeared on SportsCenter:

On her emotions concerning the announcement:

“A little bit of sadness. It’s the end of the most impressive era in women’s college basketball history. This is a woman whose impact will never be equaled. To be able to have played for her, to have learned so much from her, to understand that you were one of the select few that had a chance to be tutored by her and learn on our feet.”

The impact:

“You’re not going to be able to replace Pat Summitt. Not only what she meant to the university, but the state of Tennessee, women’s basketball, women’s sports. But when you talk about Holly Warlick, she was my guard coach there, she more than anyone else knows the intimacies of the program. She understands what it means to be a part of that program and leading that program. She doesn’t expect there to be a drop off. She is going to pursue championships like coach Summitt did, but it’s going to be in her way.”

As part of a vignette on Summitt, Lawson said:

“She has been called a pioneer, a motivator, a winner. But to me, and the hundreds of other players she’s inspired, she’s just coach.”

“Beyond the titles, it’s the personal moments players remember the most. The locker room speeches that motivated us all. The renditions of Rocky Top and the tough love that culminated in the stare.”