I have no particular attachment to Pat Summitt or Tennessee women’s basketball. I came of age after Title IX, where women’s sports, if not always culturally or popularly supported, at least had an acknowledged right of existence. The way I understood it during my childhood, Pat Summitt was like any other great coach in her chosen sport; famous, respected, and of course, the architect of teams you never wanted your favorite team to run into in the tournament.
I didn’t know back then, that she started coaching Tennessee before the NCAA Women’s Tournament even existed, for a salary of $250 a month. I didn’t know that the women’s Olympic team she played on, in 1976, was the first ever women’s basketball event at the Olympics. (Seriously, go read her Wikipedia page, it’s like a primer in women’s sports history.) For someone my age, she was just always there, glaring over the court from the sidelines. The media fanfare over her retirement is remarkable because it’s not suprising, simply her due as a prominent figure in her field.
Best of luck, Pat. And thanks.