Share your story of Pat; “I remember you- you were the lefty from Atlanta”





I attended my first Lady Vol basketball camp the summer I was going into 5th grade (10 yrs old) At that time- the age requirement was 12. My dad called and spoke to Pat directly and asked her to make an exception for me to attend the camp. She agreed- and we were off to Knoxville from Atlanta. We were in line on check in day- and I remember anxiously waiting to meet her. When it was our turn to shake her hand- she stood up, she pointedly stared my father down- and said to him-“if she cant hack it- you WILL come back to get her- you live in Atlanta, that’s 4 hours away- if I call you to come pick her up- I will give you 5 hours to get here”. I will never forget that day. I was scared but I was challenged- and I knew from that moment- I wanted to be a college basketball coach. I “survived” camp (even made the All Star Team) and I was drawn in like many… The story continues…

Years later I was in Atlanta one summer (early 90’s) recruiting at one of the big showcases- and she was sitting at the top of the bleachers- no one around her- It was like everyone was afraid to approach her. Being young and naive, I walked up to her and said “I’m sure you don’t remember me but I was the youngest person to attend your summer basketball camp”, she said to me- “I remember you- you were the lefty from Atlanta”- my heart swelled with joy! I shared with her that I was just getting started in the coaching profession and she invited me to sit with her for that game and we talked as 2 basketball coaches.

She touched so many near and dear to her- but I doubt she knows how many she touched from afar… #RIPPAT


Written by Kris Ruffo

KrisBio:  Kris Ruffo has been a head coach on collegiate level 21 years- currently head coach at Palm Beach State College- have collected close to 350 career wins and Pat is reason I went into coaching!



  1. Let me tell you a story.
    I was attending Eastern Kentucky where I was a graduate student. Dr Jennings, my professor, talked to us about getting internships for completion of our Master’s degree. I almost took a short cut but was encouraged to go in a different direction. One that would help me move forward in the direction of my dreams. After talking to my head coach, Larry Inman, he made a phone call to Tennessee for me. He got on the phone with Mickie DeMoss and after a few minutes I heard her say, “sure send her on down here.” At that point I almost threw up. I was convinced I didn’t need to graduate. I was so intimidated and I hadn’t even started my car.
    When I arrived at Tennessee I was pretty sure DeMoss had forgotten about me. No one was there. Lol I was early. The secretary, Cindy, had stepped out of the office and Pat walked in. I was sitting at Cindy’s desk and Pat says, “Hey, I’m Pat Summitt (ummm ya I know *almost threw up… Again*). Glad you’re here. Can you send this fax for me? (Wait what? Send a fax? Noooo no way. I have no idea)” So I said, “yes ma’am! Absolutely.”
    Then the phone rings. I answer it. Me: Tennessee Lady Vols this is Lisa how may I help you? The voice says: I need to speak with Pat. Me: Ok just a minute. The voice: I don’t have a minute Me: uhh ok. So I lay the phone down because I have no idea how to put it on hold plus I was terrified I might hang up the call. I enter Pat’s office. Me:Coach, you have a phone call. Pat:Have you sent my fax yet. Me:No, the phone…. Pat:I need that fax sent. Me:ok. So I return to the phone and I ask who it is. Wait for it……. Ready?? The voice:This is Bobby. Me:Can I ask Bobby who? The voice:THIS IS BOBBY KNIGHT AND I NEED TO SPEAK WITH PAT! Pat:Have you sent the FAX? SHE IS ON THE OTHER LINE WAITING! Me: uhh ok coach Knight can you, yes coach I’m sending it, hold on? At his point I’m standing there thinking O M Goodness! I am getting yelled at by Pat Summitt and Bobby Knight on my first day and I’m going to be fired!! Then in walks Cindy. She calmly put coach Knight on hold. Walked me into the work room and showed me how to send the fax then returned to tell coach Knight that Pat would have to call him back. (I was thinking in my head… Did this really just happen? I Love pressure- I thrive on it and I welcome challenges… But this was a whole different level)
    Several weeks later Pat brings me into her office. She asks me how things are going….Do I need anything…..Do I have any questions…. Am I enjoying everything… Then she starts laughing. She said, “Lisa, it was all I could do to keep a straight face on your first day. You looked like a deer in headlights.” At the time I’m thinking… So this is Pat Summitt. This lady is a piece of work. She did that on purpose! That’s so not cool. And it’s definitely not funny!
    But that was Pat. She used every opportunity to teach you, to guide you, to let you try to figure things out. She had an amazing sense of humor. A few years later on the road recruiting in Las Vegas I brought it up to her. She immediately starting laughing. And at that point I was thinking… So this is Pat Summitt. She is so Amazing. #SummittStrong


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here