UT introduces Summitt and Warlick in new coaching positions
Head coach Holly Warlick received Pat Summitt's whistle.
"It's never a good time, but you have to find the time you think is the right time, and that time is now." Pat Summitt said.
"I told her yesterday, I've been next to your side for 27 years. I don't know how you would handle not seeing me every day," Holly Warlick said.
"As far as Marquette, I'm excited to start. Maybe she has a few pointers for me," Tyler Summitt said.
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Lady Vols head coach emeritus Pat Summitt gave new head coach Holly Warlick her whistle and a hug Thursday as the University of Tennessee introduced the pair in their new coaching positions.
UT announced Wednesday that Summitt stepped down as head coach after 38 seasons. With 1,098 victories at Tennessee, she is the all-time wins leader among college basketball coaches.
"It's never a good time," Summitt said in the press conference. "But you have to find the time you think is the right time, and that time is now."
Thirty-eight years ago in April, Summitt said she received a letter from UT offering her $250 a month to become the head coach of the Lady Vols, a team described as having "excellent potential."
She called it a"privilege" to have coached and mentored 161 women who have "worn the orange."
When asked about her top priority, Summitt said, "To come to work every day, be around the student-athletes, maybe they can keep me young. Being around young people is a breath of fresh air every day."
Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said his favorite thing about Pat Summitt is that, "She really cares deeply about her student athletes. She also wants her student athletes to be productive human beings, and then she wants them to win national championships. She never stops nurturing her student-athletes. Her commitment to these women is for life."
Holly Warlick was an assistant on the Tennessee staff for 27 seasons and a three-time All-American as a player for the Lady Vols.
She served as associate head coach during the 2011-12 season after Summitt announced that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia ("Alzheimer's Type").
"I was put in a situation and did what any assistant coach would do. That was to help the head coach and do what needed to be done," Warlick said.
"I felt that Holly had earned this opportunity. I'm still going to be there for her and support her in every way," Summitt said.
"It has been great for me to have the opportunity to learn from coach Summitt over the last 27 years," Warlick said. "I told her yesterday, I've been next to your side for 27 years. I don't know how you would handle not seeing me every day."
"I am the luckiest person in the world," Warlick said. "I get to coach at a school that is in my blood. People have asked me why I haven't left. I always say, Why would I?"
As the coaching transition drew near, Warlick said, "My biggest concern with Pat is if she is okay. She pulled the stare on me and said, 'You need to be happy and I'm not going anywhere.'"
During the press conference, Summitt congratulated her son, Tyler Summitt, on becoming an assistant coach of the women's basketball team at Marquette.
"As far as Marquette, I'm excited to start. Maybe she has a few pointers for me," Tyler said.
The White House announced Thursday that Summitt will be awarded the Medal of Freedom in a ceremony later this year.
"I didn't see (the Medal of Freedom) coming," she said, "but I appreciate it very much."