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Tyler Summitt’s fall sets Tennessee fans back further

There have been a few more stories the last two days on the resignation and scandal around Tyler Summitt at Louisiana Tech. One saying questions about his maturity held up. Others had far more harsh words for the only child of coaching legend Pat Summitt.

But it was ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel who was spot on in her story on Tyler Summitt crushing two fan bases:

People who follow women’s basketball feel as if they watched him grow up. And now, everyone is watching his career and his reputation fall apart. It’s painful to see……

But the biggest key to coaching is managing people, and that’s something Summitt apparently wasn’t prepared for. As a child, Summitt had been almost like a team mascot at Tennessee, and as he grew older, he was friends with his mother’s players. But coaches need a very distinct separation from their players.

By the time Tyler entered the coaching world in 2012, Pat was already significantly changed because of her disease. Thus, the person who would have been the best and the most demanding professional mentor for him wasn’t able to be that anymore…….

Some might point to his age and say that’s the biggest explanation for why this happened. But Summitt insisted when he was hired that he was ready, and that his age was irrelevant because of the lifelong experience he had watching his mom’s teams. So if age wasn’t an impediment to Summitt getting this job, then it can’t be used an excuse for him losing it…..


It’s not an exaggeration to say that Tyler, all others close to Pat Summitt and the Tennessee women’s basketball community have been in varying degrees of sustained grief since it was revealed that she was battling this insidious, horrifically cruel illness…..

Now, Tyler’s resignation under embarrassing and difficult circumstances is another blow to Lady Vol Nation. It likely wounds them in a deeper way, in fact, than it does the Louisiana Tech fan base, whose emotions are probably more disappointment and anger as their program — which now must hire its fourth coach in the past decade — is getting such negative publicity.

It’s true: Tennessee fans – including myself – are not over losing Pat, and we may never be.

That’s no doubt why fans were hysterical, and at times irrational, in the face of each loss this past season. When the Lady Vols fell out of the top 25 in February for the first time in 31 years, I stayed off of any type of Tennessee-related social media. I didn’t want to read it, as the high-pitched screams were just as obvious through a computer screen. I’d already lost one friend, who insists Holly Warlick should be fired quickly. I quit Facebook. I quit almost everything.

Since the Tyler Summitt scandal surfaced, I’m even more glad I’m off all social media but Twitter. The majority of Tennessee nation has yet to heal, and now they are set back even further.

In all of sports history, there haven’t been circumstances quite like Pat Summitt’s. It’s no wonder her adoring fans don’t know how to get over it.

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