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Showing posts from June 26, 2016

Pat Head Summitt: A Post I Won't Be Able To Write in Past Tense

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When I was a kid, I met a young woman whose influence on my life could never have been guessed by any of the farmers or Saturday lawn experts gathered around the counter of my dad's store. She was tall, but she seemed more than tall to me. I was not quite eleven, and she was the head women's basketball coach at the University of Tennessee. My family knew hers very well: the Head family lived not too far from my grandparents, and like me she was a Clarksville girl born and bred.

But even in the late seventies, everyone knew Pat.

Girl's basketball was bigger in north-central Tennessee, because Pat Head Summitt had single-handedly built it. Single-mindedly too, because that may have been her most singular personality trait. What she focused on, she focused on absolutely.

Tennessee basketball, for example.

Pat was an All-American player at UT-Martin. Back then (the dark ages) there were no scholarships for women athletes, so her family paid her way through school. She went to…