Open Mic: Pat Summitt—The Most Powerful Woman in Sports

Michael ShibleySenior Analyst IJuly 9, 2008

When I think of powerful women in sports, Pat Summitt is the first to always pop into my head.

Summitt is the most powerful woman in all sports, not just women's basketball.

She has been at the helm in Knoxville for 34 years and has been a winner, a success, and a leader in the progression of women's athletics.

Her list of accomplishments speak for themselves:

Career Record: 983-182, a winning percentage of .844 (400-150 against ranked opponents)

SEC Championships: 14 (out of 28)

SEC Tournament Titles: 13 (out of 29)

NCAA Tournament Record: 104-19

Final Fours: 16

NCAA Championships: 8

On top of those achievements, Summitt also coached the 1984 USA Women's Basketball team to the Gold Medal in the Olympics.

In 2006, Summitt recieved a new contract.  Her new deal elevated her annual total compensation package to $1.125 million in 2006-07 and $1.5 million by the 2011-12 basketball season.

It seems only fitting, with all of her firsts and achievements in the game, that Summitt become the first women's basketball coach to break through the million-dollar ceiling.

Pat Summitt made women's athletics popular.  While most other programs were happy with half-filled arenas for women's games, the Lady Volunteers were selling out Thompson-Boling Arena.  Now the NCAA Women's Final Four is sold out every year, and every tournament game is broadcast on ESPN.

The woman's game is more competitive than ever, thanks to the efforts Summitt has made to help expand all of women's athletics.  She regularly allows cameras into her locker room to listen to her address her team, as well as wears a live mic so the audience can listen in.  Summitt understands the role of the media in the expansion of women's sports.

There would be no WNBA if not for the success on the collegiate level that Pat Summitt had at the University of Tennessee.

Every little girl playing any sport, not just basketball, knows who Pat Summitt is.

This is why Pat Summitt is the most powerful woman in sports.