Pat Summitt and the Tennessee Lady Vols: Stop and Consider the Sheer Numbers

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Pat Summitt and the Tennessee Lady Vols:  Stop and Consider the Sheer Numbers
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Almost anyone who has ever paid any attention to college basketball knows the name Pat Summitt.  But even those who are devout, die-hard Lady Vols fans may never have considered the incredible numbers that Coach Summitt and the Lady Vols have amassed.

Summitt is now in her 34th year at Tennessee.  She began as head coach in 1974 when she was just 22 years old. 

Since she began, Coach Summitt has led the Lady Vols to 30 NCAA tournaments.  But, you also have to understand that in her first years in Knoxville, there was no NCAA Women's Tourney.  Instead the women played in regional AIAW tournaments.

In her 30 NCAA appearances, Summitt has guided the Lady Vols to 18 Final Fours.  Please be sure you understand that number: EIGHTEEN FINAL FOURS. 

Her teams have been seeded No. 1 an unbelievable 21 times in 30 years.

Her complete NCAA Tournament record is 108 wins against only 21 losses.  Again, you have to pause and digest that.  In 30 years of coming to the tourney, Summitt has lost only 21 games.

Of course, many know that she has won eight national championships heading into this year's tournament.  But her teams have also finished second five times. 

So in 18 Final Four appearances, Pat's teams have either won or finished runner-up 13 times.

Doug Benc/Getty Images
Pat Summitt cuts down nets after SEC Tourney

In one span of six seasons from 1995-2000, Summitt won three National Championships and was the runner-up in two other seasons.  So in five of those six years, her teams played in the championship game.  In each of the losses, Tennessee lost to Connecticut.

And her three championships in that span were in consecutive years from 1996-98.

Pat has also lead her charges to 16 SEC titles in her 34 years, or just short of one every other year on average.  During the current campaign, the Lady Vols were undefeated in regular season play in the SEC and also swept through the conference tournament.

In 21 of her 34 seasons, Summitt's teams have won 30 games or more.  In 1997-1998, Summitt had a perfect season, going 39-0 including the national championship, of course.

After last night's game against Marquette, Pat Summitt now has a career record of 1,070 wins and 198 losses.

Once again, please stop and consider that.  She has 1,070 wins.  Mike Krzekewski just won his 900th game.  If Duke wins 30 games a year for the next five years he will still be short of Summitt's mark.

But of course by then, Summitt will have added approximately 150 wins to her total and will be over 1200 wins for her career.   Summitt will not turn 59 until June 2011 and there is no reason to believe she will not coach for many years to come.

Summitt has 872 MORE WINS THAN LOSSES.  No one in any sport, in any era, in any place will ever approach her records.

But one final record which Pat would probably say is her finest: every single young woman who has played for Pat Summitt and stayed four years has graduated from the University of Tennessee.

No exceptions. Every player has a degree.

One must stop and consider seriously what Pat Summitt and her Lady Vols have accomplished.  There is no end in sight.

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