Pat Summit Placed 10th of All Collegiate Basketball Coaches in Tennessee

Pat Summit is the Head Womens Basketball Coach at the University of Tennessee. In her 27 years of coaching, she has compiled a record of 759-153; all at Tennessee, placing her 10th all time of all collegiate basketball coaches in both mens and womens basketball. Due to this record and various other achievements, Summit is highly respected in the basketball coaching profession, even when compared to male coaches.

In her coaching, she has coached 20 Southeastern Conference tournament and regular season championship teams, 6 National Championship teams, been an Olympic coach, has developed 16 players who have become Kodak All-Americans, 53 All-SEC players, and 11 Olympic Athletes.

As if this wasnt enough, Summit has also earned both Basketball Hall of Fame honors in 2000 and Womens Basketball Hall of Fame honors in 1999. Summit was also named Naismith Coach of the Century, at the same time, her player Chamique Holdsclaw was named Naismith Player of the Century. These are only a few of accomplishments; her achievements are simply unparalleled in collegiate coaching.

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Pat has written two best selling books, the first is Reach For The Summitt, which is the book I will be discussing, and Raise The Roof, her second best seller. Both books talk about success in coaching college basketball, and in helping young women grow into adults.

To her athletes, she is much more than just a coach. From the first time she meets her recruits, she is simply Pat. Nothing more, nothing less. She instills in her athletes the pattern of success and constantly is challenging them to reach their fullest potential as both an athlete and a student.

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The results: a graduation rate of 100% and championship teams. She is also a great motivational speaker, and has spoken in various forums, including the FBI and Victorias Secret. Pat uses her Definite Dozen in every aspect of her life. These 12 principles can aid anyone in establishing and maintaining good relationships, no matter the context. From work to family or athletics to friends- the Definite Dozen is a great tool to utilize in every situation good relationships are desired.

In the next section I will outline Pats Definite Dozen.

  1. Respect Yourself and Others. Pat says that there is no such thing as self-respect without respect for others, no one succeeds by themselves.
  2. Take Full Responsibility. There are no shortcuts to success. She says that being responsible sometimes means making tough and unpopular decisions, and also holding ourselves accountable for the mistakes we make.
  3. Develop and Demonstrate Loyalty. Pat says that in order to receive loyalty from those around you, you have to be loyal yourself. A key is to surround yourself with people who are better than you are, learn from their talents, and use them to the best of your abilities.
  4. Learn to Be a Great Communicator. Communication eliminates mistakes and listening is the largest key to communication. She says making good eye contact is important, and silence is one of the greatest forms of communication, be aware of body language.
  5. Discipline Yourself So No One Else Has To. If you have self-discipline you will be a better believe in yourself. Pat believes that discipline helps you finish a job, and finishing is what makes great work over average work.
  6. Make Hard Work Your Passion. Do the things that are not the most fun and do them well. It is important to plan your work and also to work your plan. This means, that you should stick to doing what you say you will do even when times get tough
  7. Dont Just Work Hard, Work Smart. This is about knowing your strengths and weaknesses and how to use them. It also means to be flexible and know those around you who are going to help you with your plan.
  8. Put the Team Before Yourself. Pat believes that teamwork allows common people to obtain uncommon results. When there is group success, there is often individual success as well, and it is important to know how to handle success.
  9. Make Winning An Attitude. We choose our attitudes, and it is important to maintain a positive self- image to be successful. Negative people and attitudes lead to negative results. Confidence results in having a winning attitude, once you have been successful you will be confident in many other aspects of your life.
  10. Be A Competitor. Pat believes that you do not have to possess the most amount of talent to be successful rather, that you are competitive in wanting to achieve success. Competitive instincts are needed for survival in the world.
  11. Change Is A Must. Taking risks is important in moving up the ladder, want to go to places that you have never been before.
  12. Handle Success Like You Handle Failure. It is important to remember that we cannot always control the outcome of something, but we can control how we handle it. We learn more from losing than we do from winning (Summitt, 257-260).

These are the Definite Dozen, trough out the book, Reach For the Summitt, Coach Pat Summitt outlines these principles, each representing a chapter. I will discuss a few of them.

In the first chapter, Respect Yourself and Others, Pat talks about her roots, and how her father was very tough on her and taught her respect for herself and for those around her. Pat the way she is because of how she was raised, her father taught her how important respect and hard work are, and she has taken those principles and applied them to coaching, and to life.

The second chapter is about responsibility, and Pat has a lot of responsibility as a parent and as a coach. She believes that responsibility is the building block in both personal and team growth (30). Pat is responsible for making judgment calls concerning a players health, academic progress, and emotional well-being. The parents of her players send their daughters to Pat knowing that she will take good care of them and help produce them into successful young women. Her accolades speak for themselves.

In the third chapter which discusses loyalty Pat tells a story of when she was recruiting a great player, and was also pregnant and ready to deliver. Pat still flew to see this girl, but had to leave in the middle of her visit because she was going into labor, she had her son a few hours later. This showed Pats loyalty to recruiting and getting the best players in the country to play for her (53).

If there is one thing that Pat is extremely good at, it is communicating with her players. The fourth chapter discusses how important communication can be. Pat feels it is important to find the best way to command the attention of those who you are communicating with. Who are you talking to? What tone should you take? What are you trying to accomplish? It is important to be clear in what we say, and say it appropriately for the situation (Summitt, 66). Pat has meetings with her players several times a year to make sure that they are on the same page and that Pat understands her player and so the player understands her. It helps to communicate this way between a player and a coach because they need to know they can trust each other.

Chapter six highlights hard work. To Pat Summit it is very simple, she feels that she will always win because she will always outwork whoever she is up against (117). Sometimes Pat will admit that she goes overboard, but that is the only way she knows how to go, 110%. Her father raised her that way, and that is the same type of attitude she instills in her team.

Teamwork, as discussed in chapter 8, does not come naturally. Teamwork is learned from the leader of the team. Every year she has to start over in teaching her teams how to work together to be successful because she has new people who have to learn her system. Working together will create success for the entire group, which is the ultimate goal (160).

Through the entire book, Pat tells a story for everything, which provides more and more evidence for why she is such a great success. Pat generally knows how to deal with people and get the most out of them. She knows how to make people believe that the sky is the limit. The title of the book, Reach for The Summitt, speaks for itself. The University of Tennessee Womens Basketball team is constantly reaching to achieve more and more, to them there is no such thing as settling for anything less than being the best team in the country. Pats success as a basketball coach, and as a person are her credentials for writing this book. She helps young women grow into responsible, successful adults.

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Pat Summit Placed 10th of All Collegiate Basketball Coaches in Tennessee. (2022, Nov 18). Retrieved from

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