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How ’bout them Vols!?

Posted by Richard on April 5, 2007

Belated congratulations to the Lady Volunteers for winning their seventh NCAA Women's Basketball National Championship Tuesday evening, beating Rutgers 59-46. It was a long time coming. Although they're perennially one of the top women's basketball programs in the country, their last championship was last century — 1998, to be precise.

Of course, 1998 was their third in a row, so they can be forgiven for taking a breather. And it's not like they went into a real slump — they've been in the Final Four six of the last nine years. 

Coach Pat Head Summitt is one of the greatest coaches of any sport, men's or women's, ever. She's been coaching at Tennessee for 33 years. When she began, she was just Pat Head, and women didn't play in the NCAA. They had their own Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, an underfunded pale imitation.

Times have changed. This year, Tennessee fans worried that 6'4" Candace Parker might turn pro (she's staying at UT). And the Lady Vols have had a huge fan base for many years. Some are wealthy and generous, as demonstrated at the welcome home celebration attended by 3500 Wednesday night:

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt had a big surprise for her three assistant coaches at the Lady Vols' victory celebration Wednesday.

Holly Warlick and Nikki Caldwell, both former players, and fellow assistant Dean Lockwood were each presented a Mercedes SLK 280 roadster by a local dealership.

The three looked stunned and the players cheered in excitement and ran to the cars that were driven inside the city's convention center, used for the event because Thompson-Boling Arena is undergoing renovations.

I'm in Knoxville for a few days, visiting family and friends, and there are so many people wearing orange, it looks like football season. I swung by the University Center, and the Lady Vols merchandise is flying off the shelves in the bookstore. I may have to pick up a championship T-shirt myself, although I'll be hard-pressed to squeeze it into my suitcase.




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One Response to “How ’bout them Vols!?”

  1. VRB said

    Wear it back.

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