On the verge of “a cool grand,” Summitt reflects

It’s always nice to read about Coach Pat Summitt, but some stories are especially excellent, like the one from rivals.com. Check this:

“It’s an amazing number, is it?” she said.

The thing she recalled most vividly about that first loss was calling her father, Richard, after the game.

She was 22 years old and uncertain about this coaching thing. He was a Tennessee dairy farmer who didn’t take kindly to losing.

“He was a very stern, very competitive man,” Summitt said Tuesday from her office. “I was scared to call home. Mom answered and she never even asked about the game. She probably forgot we were playing.

“I said, ‘Mom, is Dad there?’

“He picked up the phone and said, ‘All right.’ I never heard him say hello. He said, ‘Did you win?’

“ ‘No sir.’

“There was a long pause. I mean a looong pause. I was nervous. And finally he said, ‘Well, you need to learn one thing. You don’t take a donkey to the Kentucky Derby.’ ”

She laughed at the retelling.

“He was telling me you better get yourself some players,” she said. “And let me tell you something; he was right about that.”

Summitt, 56, said she never has been much for numbers or records or things like that. She likes NCAA championships, and the record eight she’s won at UT through the years is the ultimate goal.

She’s more concerned with getting the most out of her current team, which after consecutive NCAA titles is young and, by UT standards, rebuilding. The Lady Vols are 16-4.

“I was joking with [the team that] I just hope we get [the 1,000th victory] this year,” Summitt laughed.

One more victory will happen, and even for someone unconcerned about career numbers, Summitt can’t brush off the magnitude of a cool grand.

She said she’s spent more time in recent weeks looking at the pictures of all her All-Americans and the 18 NCAA Final Four teams and even some of the less decorated athletes that fought so hard for her.

“I think about all the players who wore the orange uniform and made a commitment to winning,” she said.

She’s spent 35 years bringing the best recruits from across the country to the edge of the Smoky Mountains, and that’s the key to all these victories. She never had a team full of donkeys, she said.

Link: http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/womens-basketball/news;_ylt=Asx0tLlrzEtfhOkC_53T.yhMvrYF?slug=dw-summitt012909&prov=yhoo&type=lgns