Salute to Pat Summitt
Pat Summit, a coach for the Tennessee Volunteers women’s team for 38 years, had the most wins of any university basketball coach in the country. (Yes, good things do come out of Tennessee!) She was a force for good, and for healthy competition, and for supporting young women to have drive and purpose. She got her head coaching job at 22.
She died this week, and her obituary says: “She ‘won’ every day of her life because of the relationships she developed, nurtured and cherished.” She was 64. So am I. As a young woman, I was aware of her career, and while I never knew her, I watched her rise in the sports world and was in awe of her accomplishments and success—and she was my age! She played for the U.S. Olympic team that won silver in 1976 (interestingly, the first year women’s teams played). She had 1,098 career victories, was named NCAA coach of the year seven times. Wow. And what mattered to her, as much as anything, was relationships.
We did not have enough successful women role models in 1974. She was one, doing it right with talent, commitment, and hard work, holding herself and her players to high standards. Let’s be sure in higher education, we do our best to find and support the Pat Summits who are out there now, ready at a young age to step up. We have many young professionals at BCTC. They are committed, energetic, and hard working. They meet students where they are and help them get ready for their chance to shine at college or at work or at life.
Augusta A. Julian, Ed.D