Tue
Aug 14 2018
06:45 pm

"As part of the two-year series, UConn will host Tennessee during the 2019-20 season, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Pat Summitt Foundation and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In the 2020-21 season, the Lady Vols will host the Huskies in Knoxville, with a portion of the proceeds again benefitting the Pat Summitt Foundation and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame."

LADY VOLS, UCONN TO RENEW RIVALRY IN BENEFIT GAMES

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Bbeanster's picture

Not a fan of this, for a

Not a fan of this, for a couple of reasons.

1. The series ended for a reason, and the reason was that Geno cheated at recruiting and the NCAA refused to do anything about it.

2. The Lady Vols ain't what they used to be. We're not in Conn's league, and Game 1 in Hartford will be brutal. Does WCBB have a slaughter rule?

fischbobber's picture

Lady Vols

I had lunch with Joan Cronan the other day, and the subject of Holly Warlick came up. I told her that I thought we were the luckiest team in America to have Holly to fill what, is at present, the toughest job in the nation.Holly's not Pat. Geno's not Pat. Nobody will ever be Pat.

But where are you going to find a head coach to follow Pat that will win at least one game in the NCAA's for six straight years, make a sweet sixteen and three elite eights while transitioning the team from Pat's style to hers? Holly has adjusted to recruiting and this year I believe she will begin to make her mark with the team. I listen to the games, every one, and I believe this is the year she takes her next step. We have the right coach for this team. Fulmer needs to have her back. I think he will. Next year is the right year to start back this series, Geno knows Pat caught him cheating, but he hasn't been caught again, even with the extra scrutiny that being caught brings. The torch was passed from Pat to Geno, and I believe Holly should have the opportunity to take it back. I think we'll split this series and take the next one.

Nothing is what it used to be, but that doesn't mean the future can't have a bright light all its own.

Bbeanster's picture

What "extra scrutiny" has

What "extra scrutiny" has Geno been subjected to?

The NCAA doesn't give a shit about women's athletics and they are not about to trip up Auriemma, the closest thing they've got to a cash cow on the women's side.

Bbeanster's picture

I like Holly as a person. But

I like Holly as a person. But this notion that she's the best of all possible coaches? Seems overly sentimental to me, considering this:

(link...)

But overall, my $$'s on this guy as best in the League: (link...)

Plus there are the two SEC coaches with recent national championships under their belts: Dawn Staley and Gary Blair.

The LVs will have a year and a half to prepare to face UConn at UConn. I fear they'll need every second of it.

p.s.: I haven't forgiven Geno for leaving Candace Parker off the Olympic team and for cutting Kara Lawson two olympics ago and for sticking Tamika Catchings on the end of the bench. He's an egotistical POS whose 'me too' moment should have already arrived. While most die-hard LV fans don't share my misgivings about Holly, many, many share my distaste for renewing this rivalry. One of Geno's ghost-written autobiographies is called " Same River Twice." I like the title, at least.

Fans are always trying to recreate the past. It never works. Now is never the same as then.

fischbobber's picture

Certainly, you're entitled to your opinion.......

But I'll stand by my previous comment. When a coach is called out by the NCAA for sending a congratulatory message to a girl pitcher on an eighth grade baseball team that made the Little League World Series (2014) and it makes national news, I consider that a pretty high level of scrutiny.

As to Holly being the best we could get for succeeding Pat, I'll stand by that too. With all due respect to Geno, Tennessee is THE preeminent women's basketball program in America. Pat is to the women's game what John Wooden was to the men's. There will never be another Pat.

But Pat's ending was sudden and tragic. And, as such, we lost not only a great coach, but we had to rebuild a new culture and coaching dynamic with a fan base that viewed Final Fours as the norm. They are not.

So we handed the ball to Holly, who wasn't looking for it, caught it before it went out of bounds and set up the play that scored before the half. Her record speaks for itself. If you've followed the team, then you understand that a large part of the problems they've faced have come from establishing a culture change. That's a nice way of saying lots of things.

Holly needs a strong, and aggressive number two. I think Bridgette Gordon is a great move. I hope she's mean and tough enough. Holly needs to recruit strongly. She's done that. And she needs some time and space to establish herself as a head coach in her own right. And frankly, that's where we are.

This program could, and probably should have fallen off the table after Pat's death. The grieving of the fan base is minuscule compared to the grieving of the staff and players. But the program didn't fall off the table. There have been struggles we're not used to seeing, but there have also been unexpected victories when we didn't expect them. And heartbreaking losses. These are the things that come with establishing a coaching identity. I can remember, when Pat was starting out, wondering if we were ever going to beat Old Dominion and Louisiana Tech. It seemed like we were going to be a second tier program forever. It was a time much like the present for our program.

Should she choose to, Holly could make more money in a far easier circumstance. She hasn't gone that route. She's a different person than Pat. She's her own person. And the game has changed. There are more programs, more players, more good coaches and more money and prestige involved with the sport. In short, there is no reason to believe that she would be able to make the NCAA's every year of her tenure. Yet she has.

Haters are going to hate. I get it. Alabama has no business beating us four times in a row. I get it. We want back in the final four. I get it. At times, it doesn't seem like we're playing up to our potential. I get it. But what I also get is that Holly stepped into the toughest situation in the toughest coaching job in America. The players think winning is automatic. The fans think winning is automatic. Your opponents know the program is in mourning and transition and that, while losing is expected, beating you while you're down will be viewed as a major achievement by their fan base. And so it goes.

And yet, the five hundred pound gorilla is Holly's age. The seven hundred pound gorilla is her loyalty to the program.If Holly keeps doing what she's doing for five more years, top five recruiting classes, making the NCAA's, competing for SEC championships and drawing fans, winning 20+ games per year, this job goes from being the impossible task of following Pat Summitt to the natural progression of following a great coach at a great institution.

Holly had a lot to do, and we are not a patient fan base. She's getting it done though and every year her flames burned brighter. Things will be all right.

Bbeanster's picture

You get paid by the word?

You get paid by the word?

fischbobber's picture

Word?

I wish. Holly just happens to be one of the few things left I believe in. I was just happy to see Phil and Joan and UT agree. But, as I said, we're all entitled to our own opinions.

fischbobber's picture

Plus...

I think they'll split this series with UConn.

bizgrrl's picture

What I've heard is they might

What I've heard is they might as well keep Holly since there aren't any better coaches right now that would have any interest in Tennessee.

Bbeanster's picture

What I've heard is they might

What I've heard is they might as well keep Holly since there aren't any better coaches right now that would have any interest in Tennessee.

I hadn't heard that (haven't been keeping up like I used to when I covered them), but it wouldn't surprise me. UTAD, and UT administration generally, is a notorious snakepit. This is no longer *the* premier job, or the premier team. Holly gets an A- in recruiting (the minus because of that year she whiffed), but her kids don't seem to perform up to potential, a trend that began when Pat was still here. There's been a lot of turmoil within the team.

Alzheimer's is a long, slow and terrible ride.

fischbobber's picture

Turmoil within the team.....

You're right, but that's commonly called culture change.

The reason getting to an elite eight is such an accomplishment is that you have to push through turmoil and jell at the right time. UT is still a top five job. But, I would submit that Holly, for all her struggles, is a top five coach. Unless you can bring in Geno, she's the smart move if you want the best chance of winning.

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