This story will make any Tennessee fan feel better:
“Like (Warlick) said in her press conference, her philosophies and her values are very much in line with Coach Summitt and what she is about, and so that’s going to make the transition a lot smoother,” Spani said. “But Holly is her own personality as well, so we’re excited about adjusting to that and looking forward to that.”
Summitt’s voice will still resonate throughout the gyms during practice. There will also still be “The Stare,” Summitt’s famous stare down that can send chills through players and officials.
The Lady Vols are glad they won’t be seeing a total makeover next season.
“I think seeing this year and seeing a mini version of what next year might look like, that makes the transition a lot easier instead of a very abrupt difference,” Spani said. “So knowing that Coach Summitt is still going to be around and still going to be very involved in our program, we want that as players and we need that as players, and she knows that Holly needs her to be involved.”
Summitt met with her players before the press conference. Many of the Lady Vols appeared subdued — and some of them sad — as they took their seats before the news conference began.
However, their moods lightened as Summitt, her son Tyler, and Warlick spoke to a huge media gathering.
“It is an emotional day,” said Cierra Burdick, a Lady Vols freshman last season. “It’s bittersweet. Coach (Summitt) is accepting a new role, and I think she’s happier in that new role. Holly is stepping up into a greater role, and she has big shoes to fill, but I have full faith and confidence in her that she will do so in a way that will benefit the program.”
Burdick said she was relieved that Warlick was hired as Summitt’s successor.
“I think it would have been a complete curveball if they brought in a completely different coaching staff with different coaching styles,” Burdick said. “I think the fact that (Warlick) knows the tradition and the legacy from Pat, I think it’s going to make this transition a lot smoother.”