KNOXVILLE — It has been well documented over the years that Pat Summitt’s legacy involves far more than her 1,098 victories and eight national championships.
Bob Kesling, the “Voice of the Vols” since 1999 — and prior to that the Lady Vols’ announcer dating back to 1978 — remembered how Summitt built the women’s game.
Kesling was among the hundreds who turned out at Pat Summitt Plaza on Tuesday to honor Summitt, who died earlier that day, some five years after announcing her early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
“Back in the 1970s a good crowd at Stokely (Athletic Center) was 250 or 300 people,” Kesling said, referring to the now-defunct building that once hosted men’s and women’s games at the University of Tennessee.
“But you could see how Pat grew the product every year with her teams and championships,” Kesling said. “I think when Holly (Warlick) played that was a boost to the program because she was a local product.”
Warlick, the Lady Vols current head coach, served as a Summitt assistant for 28 years and was a three-time All-American between 1976-80.
Kesling, asked for an anecdote that summarized Summitt, recalled a Tennessee women’s game at LSU in 1978 that was tied at the end of regulation.
A men’s game was scheduled to start immediately after the women’s, and it was set for live television coverage as game of the week.
Summitt was not happy with the options presented — a running clock or the completion of the women’s game after the men’s contest — and Kesling said Summitt made sure that would never happen again.
Follow Mike Griffith on Twitter. Griffith covers Tennessee for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and is based in Knoxville.