The day of Pat Summitt’s passing I was asked if I had ever met her; and, if so, was she intimidating? I remarked that she was not intimidating; rather, she was a powerful presence. I had the honor of meeting her while coaching at Princeton University. We had traveled to play the Lady Vols at UT. She met the team after practice, graciously gave us a tour of the facilities, then sat with the kids and patiently answered all of their questions. Coach Summitt was keenly aware of how awed people felt in her presence and had a way about her that made you feel like a good friend. Whenever I said hello to her at the Final Four she was always warm, welcoming, and genuine. This is in stark contrast to her legendary intensity on the basketball court where I witnessed “The Stare” in person. She once said that “People who demand a lot are intimidating to those who don’t want to give a lot”. Her overt competitiveness helped an entire generation of girls and women understand that it’s okay to want to win every time you play. I will miss Coach Summitt. Although I never worked with or played for her, I always considered her one of my coaches. And she may be gone, but she will never leave us.
Written by Helen Williams
Bio: Helen Williams supports coaches by helping them achieve greater organizational awareness and enhanced professional competency, ensuring increased competitive success. Helen Williams has built an eclectic, unique resume with extensive experience in intercollegiate athletics at Division I, II, and III institutions; Lenoir-Rhyne University, Wake Forest University, University of South Florida, Western Michigan University, US Naval Academy, Princeton University, Merrimack College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University. She is a color analyst for college basketball and has blogged for the websites “Team Fenom, “Institute For Sport Coaching”, and “Women In Coaching”. Williams holds an MA in Counselor Education from Lenoir-Rhyne University and a BS in Health Science from Wake Forest University.