Indiana Fever coaches and players on Pat Summitt
Before becoming an assistant coach with the WNBA Indiana Fever earlier this month, Mickie DeMoss served as an assistant to Pat Summitt for 21 seasons. Her thoughts on Pat Summitt’s retirement from the top women’s basketball job at Tennessee and her new role as head coach emeritus include feelings of happiness and reflection.
“I am happy for Pat,” said DeMoss. “Her health and well-being are most important to me. She now can focus on doing things for Pat. She has given 38 years to UT and to women’s basketball. Now, she can do what’s best for herself, every day. I’m happy for my friend, and happy that she can begin a new chapter in her life.”
DeMoss also addressed Summitt’s legacy.
“She’s had such a unique and powerful impact on the women’s game – not only on the college level, but on every level. Her legacy will always be revered.”
And like many other coaches, DeMoss feels Summitt had a tremendous impact on personal career.
“The impact that she has had on me, not only as a professional but as a person, has been tremendous. It has been a very powerful impact. I will always be grateful for her influence.”
Other members of the Fever also weighed in. Head coach Lin Dunn has known Sumitt for 42 years. They both attended Tennessee-Martin, were a part of the same sorority and are credited with the birth of the school’s women’s basketball program.
“It is a sad day for Tennessee sports,” said Dunn, “as Pat Summitt steps aside. We have lost our John Wooden.”
Fever forward Tamika Catching who had a storied career under Summitt expressed shock at the news.
“It was definitely a shock because of the timing,” said Catchings. “Her legacy will always stand, so far as elevating the women’s game and bringing people to our game. I do think it’s also a relief for her and everybody involved at UT. She’s not leaving and she’ll still be a part of Tennessee and a part of the program.”
She also talked about Summit’s impact on her life.
“Pat was like my second mother — my mother away from mom when I got to the University of Tennessee, and even now. She is somebody who I always know will be in my corner. She is a driving force behind who I am, on and off the court.”
Shyra Ely-Gash, another Fever player and former Lady Vols tweeted her feelings.
I can’t even begin to express the impact that Pat Summitt has had in my life as a person n player. THANK YOU, PAT SUMMITT!! I LOVE YOU! #V4L
— Shyra Ely-Gash (@ShyShy43) April 18, 2012