I so wish I could be there Saturday for the UCLA @ Tennessee game – the first time Bruin Coach Nikki Caldwell plays her former boss’ team. But plane tickets, even back in September, were $500 freakin dollars.
This story sums things up well:
She has brought her Tennessee ties with her to L.A. Her assistants, Tasha Butts and Tony Perotti are both Tennessee natives and worked in the Tennessee program. And she has brought more than a little of Summitt, too. Caldwell is cool and controlled, confident and persuasive. She has more than a few of the legendary coach’s personality traits.
Caldwell said Summitt taught her to be on top of her game, as a coach, in every setting.
“Whether it’s a fundraiser or speaking to donors, speaking to fans or getting the team prepared to play,” Caldwell said. “She always talked a lot about not taking possessions off. You can’t take them off as a coach either. You are always, always on.”
Summitt knew Caldwell would be a good fit for UCLA. She pushed her for the job – an endorsement that’s hard to beat.
“I’ve felt all along that she was head coach material,” Summitt said. “Watching her work in our practices and just seeing her toughness; a lot of people think she is the next Pat Summitt as far as what she demands. She demands a lot. I always say ‘you don’t get what you expect, you get what you demand,’ and I think Nikki Caldwell understands that.”
I hope my UCLA season ticket holder friends keep their promise and take pictures and bring me stuff.
Edit Friday morning to add:
Tennessee Assistant Coach Holly Warlick and Caldwell are trash talking this A.M. on twitter. Warlick wrote to Caldwell, “I hope you are ready for tomorrow!” To which Caldwell responded: “I am always ready for you, Warlick. Are you?”
Maybe I’m glad I’m not there after all. I would be torn in my allegiances.