Best of Knoxville 2009
Best Ambassador for Knoxville Runners-Up: Bill Haslam, Peyton Manning, Bruce Pearl
This wasn’t exactly a season to remember for Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols basketball team. But even among the 11 losses—the most for a Summitt-coached team since 1976—and getting bumped in the first round from the NCAA Tournament, Summitt reached a historic milestone with her 1,000th win in February. That’s more than any other coach ever in NCAA basketball history, men’s or women’s, and a mark she’s given every indication she intends to keep adding to. By the time she’s done, she may put the record out of reach for anybody.
But the numbers—1,005 wins, eight national championships, 14 SEC championships, 18 Final Four appearances—don’t capture all of Summitt’s gritty competitive streak, her tough (but fair) coaching style, or her commitment to women’s sports. She’s proved that women’s athletics don’t have to take a backseat to men’s sports and has carved out a sizable legend at a school known mostly for football.