It’s hard not think of Pat Summitt around the women’s basketball NCAA Tournament. And as Tennessee gets set to take on Dayton in the first round, head coach Holly Warlick is constantly thinking of her mentor.
Warlick wrote an article on The Players’ Tribune about how Summitt helped her become both the coach and person she is today. Warlick remembers Summitt not recruiting her out of high school because Warlick had a bad game. And the time Summitt offered her job as an assistant.
And then there was the time the two of them accidentally found themselves in a strip club while on a recruiting trip. Here’s an excerpt from the story:
Nobody is there, which is great — because at this point, Pat Summitt could go very few places, let alone a bar in Clarksville, without being recognized.
We’re enjoying our drinks and chatting up the bartender when a couple of people come up to us to say hi. Then another couple of people walk over to the bar. Now, we’ve gone from the four of us to about eight or 10 people. And I’m sitting there, thinking, Where did you all come from? Because we haven’t seen anyone walk through the front door.
“Can I buy you guys a drink?” I hear a woman ask.
I turn to her and start up a conversation. “What do you do?” I ask.
“I work here,” she replies.
“Where?!” I’m confused (and a little nervous).
She takes me over to a room just off in the corner. The music is booming, the lights are flashing.
I see poles.
Oh, my God, I think. She’s a pole dancer. We’re in a strip club.
Meanwhile, Pat’s off having a good time, chatting up the locals. I walk over to her.
“Hey, Summitt,” I say. “Are you having a good time here?”
“Yeah, I love it here!”
“Well, do you need to go to the restroom? ‘Cause I think you need to go to the restroom.” She looks at me all confused-like.
I grab her arm and take her around the corner.
“Oh, my G—”
Her mouth drops. Probably one of the few times in my life I ever saw Pat look surprised.
We go back to the bar, finish our drinks and say goodbye to our new friends.
I can imagine the headlines already: PAT SUMMITT GOES TO STRIP CLUB. (She would’ve laughed at that.)
It was a really great day.
Warlick goes on to talk about Summitt dealt with her battle with Alzheimer’s and how Warlick has tried to continue the legacy of her as Tennessee’s women’s basketball coach. And ultimately she described why she continues to coach.
“I want to make a difference in these kids’ lives — because that’s what Pat made in mine,” Warlick wrote.
Summitt died at the age of 64 in June of 2016, five years after she had first been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
The Tennessee women’s basketball team is a No. 5 seed in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. The Lady Volunteers tip off at 3:30 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on ESPN2.