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Posts Tagged ‘lady vols’

World takes to social media to mourn Pat Summitt’s death, celebrate her legacy

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 29, 2016

Across sports and across generations, luminaries including Martina Navratilova, Mia Hamm and Robin Roberts took to social media to pay tribute to Pat Summitt.

Source: World takes to social media to mourn Pat Summitt’s death, celebrate her legacy

 

Yesterday was a very sad day, not only in the sports world, but in the state of Tennessee, in women’s athletics, and for me personally. I believe Pat was one of the most prominent Tennesseans to have ever lived and her death at such a young age is a devastating loss, but it’s wonderful to see how loved and respected she is/was too. These tributes by people from all walks, including Billie Jean King, Dick Vitale, Russell Wilson, and more, are both moving and telling of her impact on people. I hope you read this article and get a good idea of how much she was appreciated for being the most winning basketball coach of any gender in history, the winner of eight national championships, a coach for whom every woman who played for her graduated with a degree (which is an amazing statistic) and additionally every one who played for her played in a Final Four (equally amazing over 38 years). RIP Pat.

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A Sports Update

Posted by Scott Holstad on December 10, 2014

Here’s another sports update.

Well, the regular college football season is over. Tennessee finished strong to finish with a 6-6 record, good enough to make a bowl. This is big, because we haven’t been to a bowl in four years. This year we’re going to play in the TaxSlayer Bowl, formerly the Gator Bowl, against Iowa, a tough opponent. I can remember playing them in previous bowls and going 1-1 against them, I think. We’ve been bad for too long. We used to be great. We used to have 10 win seasons consistently and in 1998, we won the national championship against Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl. I was there for that game. It was awesome. Those were our glory days. We’ve won six national championships and have had some other great seasons, but for some reason we’ve fallen on hard times. However, we have a new second year coach — Butch Jones — who seems good, has gotten some excellent recruits, and seems on the right path. We’ve played 23 freshmen this year, more than any other team, so we’ll have experience in coming years. Next year, I expect us to win 8-9 games and challenge for the SEC East.

UT is now also in the middle of the men’s and women’s basketball seasons. The men’s team lost most of its players from last year and has only one decent player and a bunch of new ones. So far, we’re 3-3. The Lady Vols have been decent, but not great, and are ranked 11th in the country so far.

Meanwhile, my Steelers have had a schizophrenic year. They’re 8-5 and in the middle of the wild card race for the playoffs. They just had a great win against division leading Cincy. The problem is, we play great against the best teams and have gotten beat by some of the worst teams in the league, teams we should easily pound, like Tampa Bay. It’s been really frustrating. Still, some of our players are having outstanding years. Career years. Ben Roethlisberger has passed for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns. He became the second player in league history to have two 500 yard passing games in the same season. Second year running back Le’Veon Bell has rushed for over 1,200 yards and five touchdowns and with his receiving totals, has nearly 2,000 yards, which is outstanding. Last week, he became the second player in league history, joining Walter Payton, to have three consecutive 200 yard games. And wide receiver Antonio Brown has 105 catches for 1,375 yards and 11 touchdowns, all of which lead the league. In fact, Brown is the leading receiver, Bell is the second leading rusher and Big Ben is the fourth ranked quarterback. All of this is really exciting and I hope they all make the Pro Bowl, because they really deserve it.

Additionally, my Pittsburgh Penguins are having an excellent year. They’re 18-6-3 and leading their division. Sidney Crosby is second in the league in scoring, after leading the league last year. Evgeni Malkin is fourth in the league in scoring. And goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is fourth in the league in wins and is having perhaps his best season with a great goals against average of about 2.07. That’s  awesome for him because he’s taken a lot of criticism over the past few years for fading in the playoffs, even after helping the team win the Stanley Cup a few years ago. Even though we make the playoffs every year, we haven’t been to the Stanley Cup in five years, so I’m hoping this year we can do it. One of the problems, however, is we have tons of injuries. We’ve lost so many players to injuries that it seems these three great players are playing with all minor league players surrounding them. It’s amazing we can win any games at all. Hopefully we’ll get some players back soon because this has been ridiculous.

I guess that’s about it. I’m happy UT has made a bowl and hope we win. I’m hoping the Steelers make the playoffs and then anything can happen. A Super Bowl would be awesome. And the Penguins will go all the way to the Stanley Cup again, barring continuing injury problems. A good fall. Here’s to a good winter.

 

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Lady Vols Game

Posted by Scott Holstad on November 27, 2014

I’ve been a fan of the Tennessee Lady Vols for over 30 years now, am a UT alum, have been to many of the men’s games, but I’ve never actually been to a Lady Vols game. Until last night. UT came to Chattanooga to play UT Chattanooga, a 3-2 Southern Conference team (small conference). The Lady Vols were undefeated and ranked #4 in the country. Easy win, right? Well, UTC got off to a great start and UT was playing TERRIBLE defense, and normally they’re one of the best defensive teams in women’s basketball. They were scoring layups on us, out rebounding us (normally we’re a dominant rebounding team), out hustling us, and we really looked flat. Our offense was terrible too. UTC jumped out to a big lead and led throughout the first half. I kept waiting for UT to catch up, but they never did. At the half, the Lady Mocs (UTC) led the Lady Vols 37-21. I couldn’t believe it! It was crazy. We’ve been beating teams by 49 points a game this season. And we were totally dominated — by a team that had only one starter over six feet tall. Normally the Lady Vols have a very tall team and we were definitely taller than they were last night. There’s no way we should have been trailing so badly.

Our coach must have said some pretty serious stuff at halftime, because we came out with a much better defensive effort. We played full court defense and got turnovers and some good shots. And even though our offense stilled looked off, we started catching up. Their one time 17 point lead was trimmed to 10 with about 10 minutes left in the game. We kept up the pressure and made some better shots. Finally, with about three or four minutes left, we evened it up at 57. Now I knew we were going to win. Just like we should. Except … our coach called off the full court press and UTC started making layups again. And making good shots. And we just went back to looking bad. With about a minute left, UTC was up 64-63. I thought we’d get the ball on possibly two more possessions and would pull it out. We came down the floor, put up a bad shot, fouled the Lady Mocs player, who promptly made one of two free throws to put them up 65-63. We still had about 18 seconds left, though, to tie or win on a three. Then the unreal happened. We got it down in the post to one of our best players who went in for a layup to tie it and it got blocked. She got the rebound, went up again, and it got blocked AGAIN!!! UTC got the ball back with 2.7 seconds and we fouled. They sunk both free throws to ice the game and won 67-63. It was unreal and I think it was only the second time we’ve ever lost to them. The crowd of mostly Lady Vol fans (we travel well) was stunned. The Lady Mocs fans were going nuts. All I could say was, great effort UTC, lousy effort UT. We shot 37% for the game and I think UTC shot over 50%. We only made a couple of threes; they made six. We just flat out got beat. Chattanooga was the better team last night and now we’ll fall from #4 and we’ll have to regroup because we play #6 Texas next, so we better put on a good showing for them.

The game environment was a little weird. UTC has a nice little arena. We had decent seats and they weren’t overly expensive. But, the guy to our right was a huge neanderthal who slammed into my wife as he walked past her and left a dent in her nose. Nice. I should have pushed him over the seats. Asshole. The women to our left were butch as hell and one had hairier arms than I do and they were pretty histrionic all game long, waving to all of their friends all over the arena. Annoying. The guy behind us screamed all game long. Nearly deafened us. And the disgusting young fat woman in front of me was wearing jeans without a belt and had the worst plumber’s crack I’ve ever seen in my life. To top it off, someone kept farting all throughout the game and the place stunk. Really weird vibes. Can we say redneck? Even though we live in Chattanooga now, and it’s a pretty nice little city, there are still a ton of rednecks around here and they were out in full force last night. Yikes! I’ve lived all over the country and I’ve never encountered anyone quite like the southeastern Tennessee/ north Georgia redneck. And the accents! Sheesh.

Still, even though my team lost, we had a good time and my wife was so impressed with the Lady Mocs that she wants to go back to the arena to see THEM play some more games. Maybe I’ll join her. Heh.

 

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UT Lady Vols Lose WCWS To Oklahoma

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 5, 2013

Oklahoma Sooners win Women’s College World Series title – ESPN.

I’m deeply disappointed the UT Lady Vols lost to Oklahoma in the Women’s College World Series (in softball), but apparently Oklahoma was the heavy favorite and was so dominating, no one could beat them. Still, it’s a disappointment to make it to the finals and not win it all. This happened to us a few years ago when we had the best pitcher in college history, Monica Abbott, and we lost in the finals to, I think, Northwestern. It hurt. I thought we were the better team, but we couldn’t put it together. This year, we weren’t the better team and kudos to the Lady Vols for getting as far as they did. I think we’re losing some good players to graduation, so I don’t know when we’ll be back next. That’s why losing this one hurts so much. Still, way to go Lady Vols!!!

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A Review of Sum It Up

Posted by Scott Holstad on May 27, 2013

Sum It Up: A Thousand and Ninety-Eight Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in PerspectiveSum It Up: A Thousand and Ninety-Eight Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in Perspective by Pat Summitt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pat Summitt’s new biography is fascinating to read. I first started gaining respect and admiration for the former Lady Vol coach in 1985 when I first started attending the University of Tennessee. By then, she had already established a first class women’s basketball program, building it from virtually nothing. I was a happy student there when she won her first national championship and as most people know, she went on to win more basketball games than any other men’s or women’s coach ever — 1098, to go with 8 national championships, second only to UCLA’s John Wooden. She did this over a 38 year period during which time every one of the hundreds of young women who played for her graduated — a 100% graduation rate over 38 years. That might be the most impressive record of all.

Pat Head Summitt was born and raised in a small Tennessee town on a farm, raised by a stern, strict father who told he her loved her just once in her entire lifetime — after she had won a national championship at age 43. She had three brothers and had to work her butt off on the farm, in school, and in basketball. She was an Olympic silver medalist in 1976 (the Russians had a 7’2″ center that 5’11” Pat had to guard and the Russians won). She coached the 1984 women’s team to the gold medal. Her book gives detailed accounts of her interactions with many players, some famous, others less so. It was fascinating to gain some locker room insights into the actions of these young women I’ve watched on the court over the past 25+ years. She also talks about other coaches, almost all of them in glowing terms. It’s interesting to see how she treats UConn’s “evil” coach, Geno A. She’s generally good to him, but she does address her breaking off the seasonal rivalry between UConn and UT in some detail (not enough though), but insists that their relationship has been repaired.

Naturally, nearly everyone knows she was diagnosed with early onset dementia, leading to Alzheimer’s, a couple of years ago. I remember exactly where I was when I heard that announcement. I was in my car waiting for my then-girlfriend, now-wife in downtown Chattanooga. When I heard, I just started bawling, as did probably everyone in the state of Tennessee. It’s a real tragedy to hit someone so young and so prominent and who has impacted so many people in so many wonderful ways. She doesn’t shy away from addressing this topic in her book; indeed, it’s central to the book’s theme. She insists that you can still live a somewhat productive life with dementia and is determined to do so for as long as possible. To help her, she has her son Tyler, a young man who I watched grow up over the years. Now’s he’s an assistant coach with Marquette’s women’s team. He’s been a real help to Pat and it’s obvious she’s grateful. While she can’t remember a lot of things anymore, like numbers and plays, it’s obvious she remembers her players and coaches — all of them — and how much of an impact they made on her and her life. It was touching to read of her relationships with many of them. Of course she was known for being stern (like her father), and for her infamous death stare, but she did love the girls in her own way and wanted them to be the best they could be. It’s also a testament to Pat’s success that 74 of her former players went into coaching. If that’s not success, I don’t know what is!

As sad as I am about Pat’s condition and her future, this book was a joy to read and it was actually pretty inspirational. I recommend it for any Tennessee fan, any women’s basketball fan, any sports fan, actually just about everybody. I think everyone can draw something from this book. I loved reading it and even though it’s over 400 pages, I tore through it in a day and a half. Strongly recommended.

View all my reviews

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Pat Summitt reflects on relationship with Geno Auriemma in book

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 26, 2013

Pat Summitt reflects on relationship with Geno Auriemma in book – ESPN.

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Tennessee’s Pat Summitt Changed The Game

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 19, 2012

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt changed the game – ESPN

This ESPN article is a great tribute to possibly the greatest coach to ever coach basketball, men or women’s — Tennessee’s Pat Summitt. Yesterday, she retired from coaching due to her nightmarish early onset dementia problems. She bravely battled through these over the past season, but you could see it taking a toll on her. She just wasn’t the same.

Summitt made women’s basketball the game it is today. We wouldn’t even be talking about it if it weren’t for Summitt. She won more games than any coach in history — 1,098. Every team of hers has made every one of the 31 women’s NCAA tournaments that exist. She’s won eight national championships, second only to UCLA’s John Wooden’s 10. And one thing many people don’t know, but I’m particularly impressed with — every player she’s ever coached has graduated with a degree! How many other coaches can say that? That’s right — none.

Last year, when it was announced that she’d come down with dementia, I was sitting in a parked car in downtown Chattanooga and just started sobbing. It was previously unthinkable. She’s one of the strongest people to ever grace the face of the earth. Why did it have to happen to her, at age 59? It seems rather cruel.

I knew, like most, she’d have to step down as coach soon, so her timing is good. One of her assistants is taking over, a coach who’s been with her for 27 years, and Pat will stay on in an advisory capacity, but the torch has been passed. It’s a sad day indeed, for women’s basketball, the University of Tennessee, and the entire state. I hope she can stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible for the remainder of her great life.

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Tennessee Lady Volunteers vs. Baylor Lady Bears – Recap – March 26, 2012 – ESPN

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 27, 2012

Baylor has just two wins to go for 40-0. Tennessee’s future is far less certain.

Brittney Griner had 23 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks before being ejected with less than a minute left and top-seeded Baylor rolled over Tennessee 77-58 Monday night to advance to the Final Four.

“We’re so happy, but you can’t relax,” Baylor’s Destiny Williams said. “We have two more games left.”

Shekinna Stricklen had 22 points for Tennessee (27-9), whose seniors became its first four-year class not to reach a Final Four.

The second-seeded Lady Vols now face an uncertain future, as Pat Summitt has yet to say if she’ll return for a 39th season as Tennessee coach. She announced in August she’d been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.

“This team is about Pat Summitt. This team has battled all year,” said Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick as she fought back tears. “I’m proud of them. I thought our team and coaching staff obviously was in a difficult situation. But I thought this team was responsive. I wouldn’t trade anything that we did this year.”

via Tennessee Lady Volunteers vs. Baylor Lady Bears – Recap – March 26, 2012 – ESPN.

For me, it was a difficult game to watch. We just couldn’t get it inside offensively and didn’t hit our jumpers. And we packed the box around Griner, which worked for most of the game, but shockingly, Baylor’s guards just nailed three after three. They just killed us! It was thoroughly depressing, and since I feel Pat Summitt will likely retire now, it’s a sad way to end her impressive career….

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