Pat Summitt Retires
I grew up in Kentucky where college basketball is the life blood of the state. As an aside, the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Murray State University and Western Kentucky University combined to win 2 conference titles and 3 conference tournament titles, to make two Final Four appearances, to win one NCAA title, and to post a 12-3 win loss record in the recent NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Pat Summitt’s Tennessee teams were regular fixtures in the late stages of NCAA women’s basketball tournaments from my childhood in the 1980′s through 2012. Summitt no longer being an active coach is a sad day for the sports.
Pat Summitt and Billie Jean King
During those same 1980′s when I was aware of Summitt’s work at Tennessee, women’s tennis was (and still is) firmly planted as the most prestigious sport open to women. The status of women in tennis is completely indebted to the work of Billie Jean King. In the 1980′s, I thought King may have been the subject of a Michael Jackson song and was not aware of how important her life as an athlete and Summitt’s work as a coach were. Looking back, I think it is safe to say that women’s sports in the United States and around the world ranging from volleyball to soccer would not be where they are today without the work of King and Summitt. As a son, brother and father, I am glad to see so many doors opened. It is important at a time like this to appreciate the two women who opened the most doors.