|Sport(s)||Women's college basketball|
|Title||Head coach emeritus|
June 14, 1952 |
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
8× NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championships (1987,1989,1991,1996–1998,2007,2008)
16× SEC Champions
(1980, 1985, 1990, 1993–1995, 1998, 1999–2004, 2007, 2010, 2011)
16× SEC Tournament Champions
(1980, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010–2012)
8× Time SEC Coach of the Year (1993,1995,1998,2001,2003,2004,2007,2011)
7× Time NCAA Coach of the Year (1983, 1987, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2004)
Naismith Coach of the 20th Century
2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2000
Patricia Sue "Pat" Summitt (born June 14, 1952) is a former women's college basketball head coach. She now serves as the head coach emeritus of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team. She holds the record for the most all-time wins for a coach in NCAA basketball history of either a men's or women's team in any division. She coached from 1974 to 2012, always with the Lady Vols, winning eight NCAA championships, surpassed only by the 10 titles won by UCLA coach John Wooden and the 10 titles won by UConn coach Geno Auriemma. She was the first NCAA coach, and one of four college coaches overall, to achieve at least 1,000 wins (she achieved 1,098). She has the most wins of any NCAA basketball coach.
Summitt was named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century in April 2000. In 2009, the Sporting News placed her at number 11 on its list of the 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time in all sports; she was the only woman on the list. In 38 years as a coach, she never had a losing season. In 2012, Pat Summitt was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. She received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2012 ESPY Awards.
Summitt has written three books, all with co-author Sally Jenkins: Reach for the Summitt, which is part a motivational book and part biography, Raise the Roof about the Lady Vols' 1997–1998 undefeated and NCAA-championship winning season, and Sum It Up, covering her life including her experience being diagnosed and living with Alzheimer's disease.
- Early life and family 1
Coaching career 2
- 1970s 2.1
- 1980s 2.2
- 1990s 2.3
- 2000s 2.4
- Health and end of coaching career 3
- Coaching style 4
- Tournament record 5
USA Basketball 6
- Player 6.1
- Coach 6.2
- Awards and titles 7
- Honors 8
- Records 9
- Coaching tree 10
- Head coaching record 11
- See also 12
- References 13
- External links 14
Early life and family
Summitt was born Patricia Sue Head in Clarksville, Tennessee. She has four siblings: older brothers Tommy, Charles and Kenneth, and a younger sister, Linda. She married R. B. Summitt in 1980; the two filed for divorce in 2007. They have one son, Ross "Tyler" Summitt (b. 1990).
When Summitt was in high school, her family moved to nearby Henrietta, so she could play basketball in Cheatham County because Clarksville did not have a girls team. From there, Summitt went to University of Tennessee at Martin where she was a member of Chi Omega and won All-American honors, playing for UT–Martin's first women's basketball coach, Nadine Gearin. In 1970, with the passage of Title IX still two years away, there were no athletic scholarships for women. Each of Summitt's brothers had gotten an athletic scholarship, but her parents had to pay her way to college. She later co-captained the first United States women's national basketball team as a player at the inaugural women's tournament at the 1976 Summer Olympics, winning the silver medal. Eight years later in 1984, she coached the U.S. women's team to an Olympic gold medal, becoming the first U.S. Olympian to win a basketball medal and coach a medal-winning team.
Tyler Summitt, who played as a walk-on for the Tennessee men's basketball team, graduated from Tennessee in May 2012, was hired as an assistant coach by the Marquette University women's team effective with the 2012–13 season. In what ESPN.com columnist Gene Wojciechowski called "a bittersweet irony", Tyler's hiring by Marquette was announced on the same day his mother announced her retirement. After two seasons at Marquette, Tyler was hired in April 2014 as head coach of Louisiana Tech University's women's basketball team.
Just before the 1974–75 season, with women's college basketball still in its infancy and not yet an NCAA-sanctioned sport, 22-year-old Summitt became a graduate assistant at the University of Tennessee, and was named head coach of the Lady Vols after the previous coach suddenly quit. Summitt earned $250 monthly and washed the players' uniforms - uniforms purchased the previous year with proceeds from a donut sale. Summitt recalled that era of women's basketball during a February 2009 interview with Time Magazine. "I had to drive the van when I first started coaching," Summitt said. "One time, for a road game, we actually slept in the other team's gym the night before. We had mats, we had our little sleeping bags. When I was a player at the University of Tennessee–Martin, we played at Tennessee Tech for three straight games, and we didn't wash our uniforms. We only had one set. We played because we loved the game. We didn't think anything about it."
During Summitt's first year as head coach, four of her players were only a year younger than she was and all were from
- Summitt biography
- "Eyes of the Storm" – a 1998 Sports Illustrated feature article about Summitt by Gary Smith
- Selected coverage of Pat Head Summitt , Knoxville News Sentinel
- Amazon.com, Books by Pat Summitt, Retrieved March 13, 2013.
- ESPN Tracking the ascension of Summitt March 19, 2012. Accessed March 13, 2013.
- Griffith, Mike. "Tyler Summitt's road to being a coach" The Knoxville News-Sentinel, 13 July 2010.
- Garber, Kent. Showing How the Game is Played. U.S. News and World Report, 2007-11-12.
- ABC News, Pat Summitt: 20 Career Highlights and Surprises November 2, 2011. Accessed April 19, 2012.
Sources: SEC records; Conference champions
|Tennessee Lady Volunteers (AIAW) (1974–1979)|
TCWSF Eastern District Champions
4th Place TCWSF
4th Place TCWSF
6th Place AIAW Region II
2nd Place TCWSF
AIAW Region II Champions
3rd Place AIAW
2nd Place TCWSF
AIAW Region II Champions
4th Place AIAW South Satellite
2nd Place AIAW Region II
AIAW East Satellite Champions
3rd Place AIAW
|Tennessee Lady Volunteers (SEC) (1979–2012)|
2nd Place AIAW Region II
AIAW South Satellite Champions
2nd Place AIAW
AIAW Region II Champions
2nd Place AIAW
|1981–82||Tennessee||22–10||NCAA Final Four|
|1982–83||Tennessee||25–8||7–1||1st (East)||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1983–84||Tennessee||23–10||7–1||T–1st (East)||NCAA Runner-up|
|1984–85||Tennessee||22–10||4–4||T–2nd (East)||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1985–86||Tennessee||24–10||5–4||5th||NCAA Final Four|
|1987–88||Tennessee||31–3||8–1||2nd||NCAA Final Four|
|1989–90||Tennessee||27–6||8–1||1st||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1991–92||Tennessee||28–3||10–1||2nd||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1992–93||Tennessee||29–3||11–0||1st||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1993–94||Tennessee||31–2||11–0||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1998–99||Tennessee||31–3||13–1||1st||NCAA Elite Eight|
|2000–01||Tennessee||31–3||14–0||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|2001–02||Tennessee||29–5||13–1||1st||NCAA Final Four|
|2004–05||Tennessee||30–5||13–1||2nd||NCAA Final Four|
|2005–06||Tennessee||31–5||11–3||2nd||NCAA Elite Eight|
|2008–09||Tennessee||22–11||9–5||5th||NCAA First Round|
|2009–10||Tennessee||32–3||15–1||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|2010–11||Tennessee||34–3||16–0||1st||NCAA Elite Eight|
|2011–12||Tennessee||27–9||12–4||2nd||NCAA Elite Eight|
|Tennessee:||1098–208 (.841)||306–44 (.874)||
† Also won SEC Tournament Championship.
‡ Also won both SEC Regular Season and
Head coaching record
|Name||Current position||Location||Relationship to Summitt||Years|
|Adams, JodyJody Adams||Head coach||Wichita State||Player||1989–93|
|Albright, JaneJane Albright||Head coach||Nevada||Graduate assistant||1981–83|
|Butts, NiyaNiya Butts||Head coach||Arizona||Player||1996–2000|
|Caldwell, NikkiNikki Caldwell||Head coach||LSU||
|Edwards, TonyaTonya Edwards||Head coach||Alcorn State||Player||1986–90|
|Elzy, KyraKyra Elzy||Assistant||Tennessee||Player||1996–2001|
|Fanning-Otis, SharonSharon Fanning-Otis||Head coach||Mississippi State||Graduate assistant||1975–76|
|Glance, StephanieStephanie Glance||Head coach||Illinois State||Assistant||2009–10|
|Haave, TonyaTonya Haave||Head coach||Metropolitan State||Player||1980–84|
|Harper, KellieKellie Harper||Head coach||Missouri State||Player||1995–99|
|Hatchell, SylviaSylvia Hatchell||Head coach||North Carolina||Graduate assistant||1974–75|
|Henry Manning, LeaLea Henry Manning||Head coach||Darton||Player||1979–83|
|Jackson, GwenGwen Jackson||Head coach||St. Paul's (VA)||Player||1999–2003|
|Lawson, AngelaAngela Lawson||Head coach||Incarnate Word||Graduate assistant||1989–91|
|McCray, NikkiNikki McCray||Assistant coach||South Carolina Gamecocks||Player||1991–95|
|Mitchell, MatthewMatthew Mitchell||Head coach||Kentucky||Graduate assistant||1999–2000|
|Pillow, ShalonShalon Pillow||Assistant||Kentucky||Player||1998–2002|
|Randall, SemekaSemeka Randall||Head coach||Ohio||Player||1997–2001|
|Summitt, TylerTyler Summitt||Head coach||Louisiana Tech||Son||1990–present|
|VanDerveer, HeidiHeidi VanDerveer||Head coach||Occidental||Graduate assistant||1986–88|
|Warlick, HollyHolly Warlick||Head coach||Tennessee||
- 2nd in NCAA women's basketball championships (8) behind Geno Auriemma (10)
- Most seasons coached in NCAA/AIAW play without a losing record (38, lost more than 9 games in a season only 7 times and more than 10 games in a season only twice)
- Most consecutive NCAA/AIAW postseason appearances (38, never missed a tournament)
- Most number 1 seeds in NCAA Division I postseason play (20)
- Most wins as an NCAA/AIAW Division I basketball head coach (1,098; in second place is Mike Krzyzewski with 1,000 wins)
- Most wins in NCAA postseason play (109)
- Most NCAA Final Four appearances (18, six more than John Wooden, who holds the men's records)
- Most NCAA/AIAW Championship game appearances (15)
- Most 20-win seasons in NCAA/AIAW play (36, all consecutive seasons)
- Tied for most 30-win seasons in NCAA/AIAW play (20) with Geno Auriemma
- Third all-time in winning percentage (minimum 10 seasons) (.841), bested only by Geno Auriemma (.873) and Leon Barmore (.869)
- 45 former players have become coaches.
- Every Lady Vol player who completed her eligibility at Tennessee under Summitt graduated with a degree or is in the process of doing so.
- Every Lady Vol player who completed her eligibility at Tennessee under Summitt played in at least one Elite Eight.
Note: The first season for NCAA Division I women's basketball was the 1981–82 season. Prior to that, Tennessee played women's basketball in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) in Division I.
- 1983—Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coach of the Year
- 1990—Inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame as a coach, the first year coaches were honored.
- 1995—Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coach of the Year
- 1998—Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coach of the Year
- 1999—Inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class.
- 2000—Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
- April 2000—Named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century.
- 2008—Named Best Coach/Manager ESPY Award. Award encompasses all sports college and professional
- 2009—Named to Sporting News' list of the 50 greatest coaches of all time (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, college basketball, and college football). She is listed in position 11.
- 2011—Named Sports Illustrated's Sportswoman of the Year, Dec. 6th, 2011 in NYC. (She shared the Sportsman/Sportswoman honor with Duke University men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski.)
- Summitt is the only person to have two courts used by NCAA Division I basketball teams named in her honor: "Pat Head Summitt Court" at the University of Tennessee at Martin, and "The Summitt" at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
- She also has two streets named after her: "Pat Head Summitt Street" on the University of Tennessee campus and "Pat Head Summitt Avenue" on the University of Tennessee at Martin campus.
- 2012—Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
- Arthur Ashe Courage Award Recipient at the 2012 ESPY Awards
- 2013—Inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame on June 19.
- 16-time SEC Champions (1980, 1985, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011)
- 16-time SEC Tournament Champions (1980, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012)
- 8-time SEC Coach of the Year (1983, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011)
- 7-time NCAA Coach of the Year (1983, 1987, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2004)
- 8-time NCAA Champions (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2008)
Awards and titles
Summitt was chosen as the head coach of the team representing the USA in 1984 at the William Jones Cup competition in Taipei, Taiwan. The team chosen to represent the USA was the team expected to be selected as the National Team for the Olympics. This resulted in a very strong team which was able to dominate the competition. In the opening game against Australia, the USA won 82–20. While other games were closer, Italy's 23-point loss to the USA was the closest of the eight games. The USA won all eight games, and won the gold medal. The USA team was led by Cheryl Miller, who led the team in scoring at over 15 points per game, rebounding, free throw percentage, assists and steals. Miller was named to the All-Tournament Team, along with Lynette Woodard, and Denise Curry.
Summitt (at the time Pat Head) was named the head coach of the USA representative to the William Jones Cup competition in Taipei, Taiwan. The USA team had recently completed the World Championship, so were able to bypass the preliminary rounds. They won all six contests and won the gold medal. Four of the USA team member were named to the 12 player all-tournament team.
Summitt (at the time Pat Head) was named to the women's basketball team invited to compete at the 1975 Pan American Games. The team was coached by (future) Hall of Fame coach Cathy Rush. Teammates included Lusia Harris, Nancy Lieberman, Ann Meyers, and Juliene Simpson. After winning the gold medal in 1963, the USA team lost to Brazil in both 1967 and 1971. The team had recently competed in the 1975 World Championship, finishing in eighth place. The opening game was against Mexico, the site of the games. The host team had finished ahead of the USA team at the World Championships. This time, the USA was victorious, beating Mexico 99–65. The USA would go on to win their next five games, with only the 70–64 win over Cuba as a single-digit margin of victory. That set up the gold medal game against Brazil. The USA team won convincingly, 74–55, and earned the gold medal.
Summitt and the 1996–1997 championship team were the subject of an Stanford and UConn, but also shocking losses to SEC lesser lights Arkansas, Auburn, and LSU (which was 7–20 just two seasons prior and had not yet established itself as a perennial national power). However, Tennessee righted itself during the tournament, shocking previously undefeated UConn in the regional final, 91–81, before defeating Notre Dame and Old Dominion in the Final Four in Cincinnati.
In the 1997–98 season, her team went unbeaten, winning all 30 regular and 9 tournament games, earning Summitt's sixth championship. After the championship game, opposing Louisiana Tech head coach Leon Balmore proclaimed the Tennessee team to be the "best ever", something Old Dominion University Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman had stated in February 1998. This was the third consecutive championship for the Lady Vols, and the third for heralded players Chamique Holdsclaw and Kellie Jolly. Holdsclaw was named a consensus All-American, as was freshman Tamika Catchings.
Summitt won 16 Southeastern Conference regular season titles with the Lady Vols, as well as 16 tournament titles. Summitt's Lady Vols made an appearance in every NCAA Tournament from 1982 until her retirement, advanced to the Sweet 16 every year except 2009, and appeared 18 times in the Final Four. When she made her 13th trip to the Final Four as a coach in 2002, she surpassed John Wooden as the NCAA coach with the most trips to the Final Four. Summitt is a seven-time SEC Coach of the year and a 7-time NCAA Coach of the year and has won eight national titles, including three consecutive titles from 1996 to 1998. Summitt is known for scheduling tough opponents for her team to play in the regular season, in order to prepare them for the post-season. In her years of coaching, her teams have played top ten ranked teams over 250 times.
Summitt was widely reckoned as one of the toughest coaches in college basketball history, men's or women's. She was best known for giving her players an icy stare in response to poor play. However, by her own admission, she mellowed considerably later in her career. In 2007 she told U.S. News and World Report she does not yell at her players nearly as much as she did earlier in her career. Tennessee at least twice asked Summitt to consider coaching the men's team, once before 1997 and again in 2001.
After the season, which ended with the Lady Vols losing to the eventual unbeaten national champion Baylor Lady Bears in the Elite Eight in Des Moines, on April 18, 2012, Pat Summitt officially stepped down as head coach, ending her 38-year coaching career. Warlick was named Summitt's successor. In a statement accompanying her resignation, Summitt said, "I feel like Holly's been doing the bulk of it, She deserves to be the head coach..." Summitt was given the title Head Coach Emeritus upon her resignation. According to NCAA regulations, as head coach emeritus, she will be able to attend practices and assist Warlick in some duties, but will not be allowed to sit on the team bench.
In August 2011, Summitt announced that she had been diagnosed three months earlier with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Despite the diagnosis, she did complete the 2011–2012 season, but with a reduced role, while longtime assistant Holly Warlick, an assistant under Summitt since 1985, assumed most of the responsibilities. In an interview with GoVolsXtra.com, she stated, "There's not going to be any pity party and I'll make sure of that."
Health and end of coaching career
Summitt's first milestone of the 2008–09 season was a 73–43 win over the Thompson–Boling Arena in Knoxville. The win was number 1000 for Coach Summitt. The Thompson–Boling Arena's court was named "The Summitt" in her honor. The 2008–09 season ended with a dubious first, as the Lady Vols lost 71–55 in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Ball State in Bowling Green, Kentucky, marking the first time Tennessee would not appear in the Sweet 16 since the NCAA first sanctioned championships in women's basketball for the 1981–82 season.
The 2007–08 season started off with the top-ranked Lady Vols going 3–0, including wins over 9th-ranked Oklahoma and 22nd-ranked Texas. The win over Texas was Summitt's 950th. After two more wins, top-ranked Tennessee knocked off fourth-ranked North Carolina, 83–79, in a rematch of the previous year's Final Four match-up. Tennessee won their next four games, then headed to California for a match-up with 5th-ranked Stanford. Down by 4 with less than 30 seconds remaining, the Lady Vols managed to tie the game up and send it to overtime, but lost, 73–69. The Lady Vols responded by winning their next seven games, giving them a 17–1 record going into a match-up with Duke. Candace Parker's 17 points and 12 rebounds, including a bucket with 22 seconds remaining, helped the Lady Vols defeat the Blue Devils for the first time in four years, 67–64. Tennessee would win the rest of their regular season games and defeat LSU for the SEC Tournament Championship. The Lady Vols won four straight games in the NCAA Tournament heading toward their third matchup of the year against the LSU Lady Tigers in the Final Four. Alexis Hornbuckle tipped in a Nicky Anosike missed layup with 0.7 seconds left to win the game, 47–46. On April 8, 2008, Tennessee won its second consecutive national championship (and eighth overall) by beating Stanford 64–48.
In the 2006–07 season, Tennessee defeated four ranked teams in a row: UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State, and Middle Tennessee, lost a regular season rematch with North Carolina and another game against top-ranked Duke, and defeated UConn for the third time in a row. Later, in Baton Rouge, the Lady Vols clinched the SEC title against LSU in a game where Candace Parker scored 27. However, in the SEC tournament semifinals, Tennessee fell to the Tigers. In the NCAA tournament, Summitt's team easily made it to the Final Four, dispatching teams that included SEC foe Mississippi and 13-seeded Cinderella, Marist, winning each game by at least 14. In the Final Four, Tennessee again faced North Carolina. Despite shooting poorly, the Lady Vols came back from a 12-point deficit with 8:18 remaining to win 56–50. In the championship game against Rutgers, Tennessee won its seventh title. During the season, Summitt appeared at a men's basketball game dressed in a cheerleader outfit and led the crowd in a rendition of "Rocky Top" to show her support for the team. A month earlier, her men's counterpart, Bruce Pearl, showed up at a Lady Vols game in orange body paint.
By 2005–06, Candace Parker had recovered from her injuries and became a starter. During the season, the Lady Vols dropped three games to SEC foes, LSU, Florida, and Kentucky, to record their worst SEC season since the 1996–97 season. However, they won their second straight game against Connecticut and rebounded from a sub-par SEC season to win the conference tournament for the second year in a row. In the NCAA tournament, Tennessee received a number two seed instead of the one seed Summitt believed her team deserved, and played North Carolina in the regional finals. Tennessee trailed from the beginning, fell behind by as many as 16, rallied to cut the lead to five, but ultimately fell 75–63. This loss marked the first time in five years Summitt would not appear in the Final Four.
In 2004–05, Tennessee broke its losing streak against Connecticut with a narrow 68–67 regular season victory. Candace Parker, a highly regarded and nationally known high school player joined the Lady Vols. However, because of injuries, she was redshirted and didn't play that sesson. Tennessee suffered losses during the regular season to Duke, Rutgers, and LSU, while beating Stanford and Louisiana Tech. LSU's win over Tennessee gave the Tigers the SEC title, breaking Tennessee's streak of seven straight regular season conference championships. However, Tennessee won its first tournament title in four years by avenging its earlier loss to LSU loss with a 67–65 win in the SEC Championship game. In the NCAA tournament, Tennessee advanced to its fourth Final Four in a row by defeating a Rutgers team that had beaten them earlier in the year. In the Final Four, the Lady Vols blew a 16-point lead to fall 68–64 to underdog Michigan State. In the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Lady Vols defeated Purdue. This victory gave Pat Summitt her 880th win, breaking North Carolina coach Dean Smith's record of 879 wins, and making her the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history.
The 2003–04 season was similar to the previous year. The Lady Vols defeated most of their regular season opponents, including Duke and Louisiana Tech, but dropped games to UConn and Texas. The Lady Vols again went 14–0 in the regular season against SEC competition, but again fell in the conference tournament. Tennessee won five games in the NCAA tournament only to lose 70–61 to Connecticut in the championship game for the second year in a row and third time in five years.
During the 2002–03 season, the Lady Vols compiled their 6th perfect SEC season and beat powerhouses Duke and Louisiana Tech, among others, during the regular season, but lost to Texas and UConn. In the NCAA tournament, the Lady Vols made it to the title game only to lose to the Huskies again 73–68. During the season, Summitt earned her 800th win, 76–57 over DePaul and was the fastest coach to reach this milestone.
In the 2001–02 season, The Lady Vols won their fifth straight SEC championship, but fell again in the conference tournament, this time to LSU. In the NCAA tournament, Tennessee reached the Final Four again, with a 5-point win over Vanderbilt University. This trip to the Final Four marked Summitt's 13th appearance, which broke Coach John Wooden's record of 12, and earned her 788th win, which tied Summitt with Jody Conradt for the winningest coach in women's basketball history. However, the Lady Vols fell in the national semifinals to Connecticut, which wound up winning the championship and capping an undefeated season. This loss ended the season at 29–5, one win shy of extending Summitt's streak of 30-win seasons. Summitt did achieve more milestones during the season; a 106–66 win over USC marked Summitt's 200th win at home, a victory against Louisiana Tech was her 300th win against a ranked opponent and her 93–65 win over Arkansas was her 1,000th game as a coach, including international contests.
In the 2000–01 season, the Lady Vols claimed another SEC title, winning all 14 SEC games. Additionally, they split the season series with the UConn Huskies and headed into the SEC tournament with a 28–1 record. However, the Lady Vols were upset by Vanderbilt in the semifinals and then lost in the Sweet Sixteen to Xavier, their worst finish since 1993–94. During the regular season, Summitt earned her 750th win in the second game against UConn, a 92–88 victory. The team also finished with its fourth straight 30-win season.
At the 2000 ESPY awards, the Lady Vols basketball team was named co-team of the decade, along with the Florida State Seminoles football team. Additionally, Pat Summitt was named the Naismith Coach of the Century and Chamique Holdsclaw earned recognition as player of the century.
The Lady Vols ended the decade with their third straight 30-win season, third straight SEC title, and third straight SEC Tournament title. Additionally, the Lady Vols defeated UConn in the regular season, 72–71, in what would be the Huskies only loss of the year. In the NCAA tournament, Tennessee breezed its way to the title game, winning all five games by at least 10 points. However, in the championship game the Lady Vols were beaten soundly by the Huskies, 71–52. This marked the fourth time in six years that Tennessee or UConn had eliminated the other from the tournament. UConn's two wins in that period came in championship games, adding more intensity to the Summit-Auriemma rivalry. During the season, Summitt earned her 700th win, 85–62 at Wisconsin.
Holdsclaw (who by then had won national championships every season she was with the Vols) had predicted the 1998–99 team would be the greatest ever. However, Tennessee didn't claim another national title or make it to the Final Four. Injuries to several players decimated the team and the Lady Vols ultimately fell to Duke in the regional finals. A landmark was set during this season however, as Holdsclaw, Tamika Catchings, and Semeka Randall became the first trio from one team to be named Kodak All-Americans.
In many aspects, the 1997–98 team was Summitt's best. With the top-ranked recruiting class as well as Chamique Holdsclaw, the Lady Vols ran the table to a 39–0 season while playing one of the top-ranked schedules in the country. Only three teams came within 10 points of beating the team, and the Lady Vols won a 93–75 victory over Louisiana Tech for their third straight national championship.
The 1996–97 Lady Vols posted one of the worst records ever for a Summitt-coached team. In addition to losses to powerhouses such as Louisiana Tech (twice), Stanford, Old Dominion, and Connecticut, Tennessee fell to teams such as Florida, against whom they had been previously undefeated. After their tenth loss of the season, in the SEC semifinals to Auburn, the team pulled together in time for the NCAA Tournament. After avenging a regular-season loss to undefeated Connecticut, Tennessee continued on their way to the championship game, where they avenged another loss, defeating Old Dominion by 9 for their second straight national title. Summitt also earned her 600th win during the season, a 15- point victory over Marquette on November 23, 1996.
 In 1995–96, with freshman Holdsclaw and senior
Early in the 1993–94 season, Summitt grabbed her 500th win, an 80–45 win over Ohio State on November 21. Tennessee went on to win the regular season and tournament SEC titles before falling 71–68 to Louisiana Tech in the regional semifinals. The next season marked Tennessee's return to the Final Four. Tennessee went undefeated in the SEC regular season for the third straight year, but failed to win the tournament title. The top-seeded Lady Vols breezed their way to their fifth national title game, with no other tournament game being closer than 21 points. However, in the national championship game, the Lady Vols fell 70–64 to the undefeated UConn Huskies, coached by her rival, Geno Auriemma, in the first of ten championships for UConn. During the off-season, Pat Summitt recruited high school stand-out Chamique Holdsclaw.
Tennessee failed to win the SEC regular season or the tournament championship in 1990–91, but after a close win in the NCAA regional semifinals against Western Kentucky, the Lady Vols eliminated Auburn for the second time in three years. In the national semifinals, the Lady Vols beat Stanford, 68–60, to earn the chance to avenge the previous year's tournament loss against Virginia. Just as the previous year's game had gone into overtime, so did this one. Tennessee escaped with a 70–67 win and its third national title in five years. The next season in 1991–92, the Lady Vols did not make it to the regional championship, falling 75–70 to the same Western Kentucky team they had beaten in that round the previous year. In 1992–93, Tennessee defeated the defending champions Stanford twice and swept the SEC season for the first time. However, the Lady Vols were unable to win the SEC tournament title and fell 72–56 in the NCAA tournament to Iowa in the regional finals.
In 1989–90, the Lady Vols started off the season well, winning the SEC title. However, the team fell by 1 point to Auburn in the SEC Championship Game and lost in overtime to Virginia in the regional finals, one game shy of making a trip to the Final Four, which that year was held in Knoxville. Summitt accomplished another milestone that season with her 400th win, a 70–69 victory over South Carolina on January 25.
In 1988–89, the Lady Vols made it to the Final Four for the fourth straight year. After dispatching Maryland by 12, Tennessee faced SEC rival Auburn for the national title. Auburn had lost by two to Louisiana Tech in the NCAA title game the previous year and had suffered its only loss in the SEC Championship game by 15 points to Tennessee. The championship game was similar as Tennessee took home its second title in three years with a 76–60 victory. Record-wise, it was Tennessee's best season yet, as the Lady Vols won 35 games while losing only a pair of regular season contests to Auburn and Texas. The Lady Vols won every NCAA tournament game by at least 12 points.
In 1986–87, Tennessee broke through and defeated perennial power Louisiana Tech 67–44 to win the Lady Vols first national title. Tennessee's Tonya Edwards was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four. During the regular season, Summitt also earned her 300th win, an 87–66 victory over North Carolina. The next year in 1987–88, the Lady Vols were positioned to repeat as Tennessee made it to the Final Four yet again. However, Louisiana Tech avenged the previous year's championship game loss with a 9-point victory and went on to win the title.
The 1983–84 season saw Tennessee start out 6–4. However, Summitt rallied her team and finished 22–10, for her eighth straight 20-win season, a streak that still continues. Tennessee not only made it to the NCAA Final Four for the second time in the first three tournaments, but also made it to the title game. However, Tennessee lost by 11 to USC, which also had won the title the previous year. Pat Summitt earned Coach of the Year honors. This season was followed up by another 20-win year in which Tennessee earned both the regular season SEC title (despite only going 4–4) and the tournament title. However, the Lady Vols fell in the NCAA Tournament to Ole Miss during the round of 16. The next season was a similar story – the Lady Vols had a good regular season, played a great tournament (reaching the Final Four for the second time in three years), but fell before winning the title.
The next season, the Lady Vols won the regular season SEC title but fell in the SEC tournament to St. John's during the Coca-Cola Classic in Detroit.
The 1981–82 season featured the first ever NCAA Women's basketball tournament. The Lady Vols were one of 32 teams invited and named a 2 seed in their region. In the region championship, the Lady Vols upset top-seeded USC 91–90 in overtime to advance to the Final Four. They lost their Final Four match-up with Louisiana Tech, which went on to win the tournament.
During the 1980–81 season, the Lady Vols went 25–6, and avenged their championship game loss to Old Dominion by defeating them three times. The team made it to the AIAW Final Four for the third straight year; finished runner-up for the second consecutive year, losing to Louisiana Tech, 79–59.
In her second season, Summitt coached the Lady Vols to a 16–11 record while earning her 1976 master's degree in physical education and training as the co-captain of the 1976 U.S. Women's Olympic basketball team that won a silver medal in Montreal. Starting with the 1976–77 season, Summitt directed two 20-win teams, winning back-to-back AIAW Region II championships. The Lady Vols defeated 3-time AIAW champion Delta State by 20 points in 1978, and earned Tennessee its first number one ranking. 1978 saw the Lady Vols participate in their first AIAW Final Four, where they finished third. Summitt also recorded her 100th win during this season, a 79–66 victory over NC State. Tennessee closed the 1970s by winning the first-ever SEC tournament, and returning to the AIAW Final Four, where they finished runner-up to Old Dominion, 68–53.
) tournament. AIAW The Lady Vols won the Tennessee College Women's Sports Federation (TCWSF) Eastern District Championship for the third straight year. However, the team finished 4th overall in the TCWSF (they had been second the previous two years), and were not invited to the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (, 69–32 on January 10, 1975.Middle Tennessee State Her first win came almost a month later when the Lady Vols defeated