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Bad sports, good sports: Coaching legend Pat Summitt retires

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Every once in a while, an athlete or coach transcends sports. The group of these individuals is small and obviously quite distinguished. Those of you who read my column regularly know that Joe Paterno was one of these in my eyes. Whatever you feel about the Jerry Sandusky situation and Joe’s role in it, it is hard to dispute his place in the pantheon of college football figures. This week, another towering figure has exited the sports scene, and her sport will be much the worse for it. Pat Summitt, the head coach of the University of Tennessee women’s basketball program, has retired.

Summitt coached the Lady Vols (why can’t they just be called the Vols, by the way?) for 38 years, winning eight NCAA championships along the way. She retires as the all-time winningest coach in the history of college basketball, having compiled 1098 wins during her career. Her teams won titles in three different decades and took home the championship of the Southeastern Conference 15 times. The last time a team of hers won fewer than 20 games in a season was in 1975, her second season as head coach, when they went 16-11. The numbers are simply staggering. She is to women’s college basketball what John Wooden, the legendary coach of UCLA, was to men’s college basketball, and, yes, what Paterno was to college football.

Last year, Summitt was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. She finished out the season, taking her team to the semi-finals of the NCAA Tournament, before an eventual loss to the Baylor Bears, who went on to win the whole thing. It was a very cool thing to watch Kim Mulkey, Baylor’s head coach, talk extensively about her respect for Summitt in the on-court interview at the end of that game. The respect and admiration was obvious, and she was clearly not doing it to just pay lip-service to what the fans wanted to hear.

The University of Tennessee faces the impossible task of replacing such an icon. Holly Warlick, who had been an assistant coach under Summitt for the last 26 years, has taken over as head coach. I don’t envy her the challenge she faces in trying to reach a standard to which no one could measure up. I hope the fans give her a chance, and I am certain Pat Summitt will be rooting for her.

Good sports, continued:

2) Chicago White Sox pitcher Phillip Humber threw only the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball history on Saturday, shutting down the Seattle Mariners in a 4-0 win.

3) Jamie Moyer, now pitching for the Colorado Rockies, became the oldest pitcher to record a victory in a major league game on Tuesday, leading his team to a 5-3 win over the Sam Diego Padres with seven solid innings. Moyer is 49 years old.

Bad sports:

1) People need to stop listening to this guy. Zach Tomaselli, the Bernie Fine-accuser who recently recanted his statement and said he never even met Fine, has changed his tune yet again. Now he is again saying Fine molested him.

2) The parent of a recruit who was visiting the University of Alabama somehow kicked over a stand that was holding the school’s BCS National Championship trophy from last year. The crystal football, formerly valued at $30,000, is now valued at zero, and is in many more pieces than it had once been. Oops.

3) Alfonzo Dennard, a cornerback from Nebraska, who was expected to be a pretty high pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, got himself arrested less than a week before said Draft. He was reportedly in a bar fight that police tried to stop, and the charges indicate that Dennard must have assaulted one of the officers.

4) Raffi Torres, a left wing for the Phoenix Coyotes, was suspended for 25 games by the NHL after a nasty hit on Marion Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks. Replays show that Torres clearly intended to injure Hossa, leaving his feet to deliver a shoulder to the head. Hossa was taken off the ice on a stretcher.

5) The Boston Red Sox have started the season off very poorly, going 4-10 in their first 14 games. The worst of those losses happened Saturday, when they blew a 9-0 lead against the New York Yankees, eventually losing 15-9. Ugly.

6) Delonte West, a guard for the Dallas Mavericks, has proven a number of times over the years that he is an idiot. He took that idiocy to new heights this week, incurring a $25,000 fine for delivering what amounted to a “wet willy” during a game against the Utah Jazz on Monday. I guess West thought it would be amusing to stick his finger in the ear of Gordon Hayward in the first half. The NBA obviously did not find it quite so funny.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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One Response to “Bad sports, good sports: Coaching legend Pat Summitt retires”

  1. Having been a Vols fan for years I really appreciate this post. Very nice job. Pat Summitt will be missed and her contribution to women’s basketball may never be matched again. We’re sad in Tennessee.

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