Coach and Athletic Director

Coach's Playbook: The Pat Summitt Legacy

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 1 of 3

BUILDING A LEGACY Pat Summitt was a tremendous competitor long before she started training under legendary coach Billie Moore as a player for the 1973 World University Games. Her humble beginnings baling hay and milking cows helped instill in her the hard work and perseverance she exhibited as a player. By the time she was training with Moore, Summitt was full of relentless energy with a genuine winning attitude. "To Pat, 'winning attitude' meant that if you're going to work hard and do something, you might as well do it right — and to the best of your abilities. Never did she approach a game that she didn't think she could win. That fire and willingness to do whatever it takes never waned in her. I admired that tremendously," Moore said. Her tenacity was evident to all who watched her on and off the court, especially during the 1973 World University Games in Moscow. Summitt took an elbow to the face and dislocated her jaw. Doctors advised her to sit out the rest of the tournament; however, Summitt, the consummate competitor, refused to sit out the gold medal game the following day, despite not being able to eat solid food due to the injury. Moore saw a natural coaching aptitude in Summitt. Her relatability to her teammates, her embrace of the role of team captain and her will to put her own desires after what was best for the team showed her embodiment of leadership even as a college student. As a result, Moore put Summitt up as a nominee for what would become her first coaching job. That nomination turned into the start of Summitt 's legacy. As Moore recounts, Summitt never coached the scoreboard — a tactic she learned from Moore. Instead, she focused on fundamentals in practice and pulling out all the stops during games. The season following the 1973 Games was Summitt 's first as head coach of the Lady Vols. In 1976, Summitt won an Olympic medal as a player; as a coach, she returned to the Olympics and won gold as head coach in 1984. A MENTOR AND FRIEND When Mickie DeMoss started at Kentucky, the team was at the bottom of the conference. But she'd learned one thing — at least — from her time as a mentee to Summitt: do not give up layups. "It sounds simple, but coaches get so worried about fluff without getting transition defense in order. With defense, everything else falls into place," DeMoss said. As an assistant coach under Summitt at University of Tennessee, DeMoss watched that simple strategy make a team into a dynasty. "No fluff until basics were covered," DeMoss said. This meant that rebounds always had to happen in order to allow for more offense; players always had to control the level of effort brought to the court; accountability was queen; defense wins games; practice defense every single day. DeMoss recounted how Summitt treated everyone with respect. She demanded high standards but always was fair. These seemingly simple things were the true keys to Tennessee's dominance under Summitt. As a role model, Summitt influenced DeMoss' coaching philosophy as well as her personal conduct. "Within two days on the job, I knew what a caring, sincere person Pat was. She didn't sugar coat, but you knew what to expect from her. She believed that no job was too small or too big." "So many people just leaned on Pat a lot," DeMoss continued. In turn, Summitt leaned ADVERTISEMENT | © 2018 Pat Summitt Leadership Group Circle #103 or text CADNOV 103 to 41411

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Coach and Athletic Director - Coach's Playbook: The Pat Summitt Legacy