Randy Smith: Holly's Last Stand

Monday, March 19, 2018 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

The Tennessee Lady Vols' 66-59 loss yesterday to Oregon State in round two of the NCAA Women's Tournament could very well be Coach Holly Warlick's last stand. After starting the 2017-18 season with fifteen straight wins, the Lady Vols slipped to just 10-8 the rest of the way. Tennessee finished with a 25-8 record; not bad at all for any other team in the country, not named Tennessee or UConn.   To put things into perspective for you, the Tennessee men's team finished 26-9 and head coach Rick Barnes .is being touted as a candidate for National Coach of the Year honors.

The tearful frustration showed on Coach Warlicks face and in her voice in a past game press conference following the loss to Oregon State.

"This isn't about winning and losing," she said. It's about young ladies getting better on and off the court and I don't think they deserve half the crap thrown at them."

Holly was referring to posts on social media about her team; posts that are actually more critical of her rather than her players. This has gone on for a couple of seasons now and unfortunately has not reached a peak. It will get worse. 

There is an old saying in sports. You never want to be the one to replace a legend. You want to be the one,who replaces the one, who replaced a legend. I'm obviously talking about the great Pat Summitt. Summitt who was replaced at the top pf college basketball's coaching wins list this weekend by Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, set the standard for success in any sport. 1,091 wins, and eight national titles in her career at Tennessee, was proof of her total dominance in the sport that she pioneered and brought out of the dark ages in the late 1970s. Literally, before Pat Summitt, there was no NCAA Women's basketball. Even though her records may soon all be broken, her legacy as one of the greatest if not the greatest coach of all time will stand forever.

The Lady Vols had already begun to slip a bit the last few years of Coach Summitt;s career. Tennessee had been knocked from the top of the women's college basketball world by Geno Auriemma and his UConn Lady Huskies. Even before Coach Summitt was diagnosed with early dementia, alzheimer's type Holly Warlick was the "heir apparent" at Tennessee. Coach Summitt's long-time assistant coach would be given an opportunity to coach the Lady Vols when the time came. That time came sooner than expected and I'm sure that Holly knew what she was getting into, even though no one could have predicted exactly how things have played out.    

I know for a fact that the best thing in her favor for staying on for at least one more year as Tennessee's head coach is the fact that the man making that decision is Phillip Fulmer. Fulmer has long been a Holly Warlick fan and if John Currie or Dave Hart were sitting in the athletic director's office in Knoxville, Coach Warlick would likely already be gone. Replacing a legend is tough. Just look at Ray Perkins, Gene Bartow and many others.  

* * * 

Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com

 



PREP SCHEDULE

(Please notify us of any schedule changes and times as well as game and match scores at news@chattanoogan.com) Softball: SATURDAY, APRIL 21 East Hamilton Tournament MONDAY, APRIL 23 Cookeville at Rhea Co. Silverdale at Notre Dame Soddy Daisy at Baylor Chattanooga Christian at Boyd-Buchanan Sale Creek at CSAS Walker Valley at Hixson ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy Lacrosse Keeps Perfect Mark With Wins Over Clarksville, Nolensville

The Soddy Daisy Trojans boys high school lacrosse team won a pair of road games over the weekend to improve its record to 11-0. O n Friday  evening. The Trojans dispatched Clarksville 14-1. Also, in a matchup of ranked teams, top-ranked Soddy Daisy defeated fourth place Nolensville in their home stadium by a score of 15-3. Both teams are ranked in Tennessee's ... (click for more)

Robert Gillisse Was Pilot Killed In Plane Crash At Collegedale Airport

The pilot who was killed in a plane crash on the runway of the Collegedale Airport on Friday evening has been identified as Robert Gillisse, 62, of Ooltewah . Charles Swain, who is the director of the airport, said the plane was a total loss. It was a single-occupant plane. He said the plane was taking off when it crashed. He said Mr. Gillisse frequently had flown out of ... (click for more)

East Ridge To Build Open-Air Pavilion Near City Hall

East Ridge plans to construct an open-air pavilion that will include restrooms and a concession area near City Hall and the old McBrien School.  It will be part of a Town Center for East Ridge at the Tombras Avenue property. The city is also applying for a $500,000 grant to help convert Pioneer Park into a refurbished park with a splash pad. The firm of Hefferlin and ... (click for more)

A Tribute For My Brother – Sgt. Jonathan Gardner, U.S. Army

Seven years ago today, my family and I found out that my brother, Sgt. Jonathan D. Gardner, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb, (explosively formed penetrator - EFP), while on a mission in Kuwait. The EFP went through the bottom of his seat and put a softball size hole in his upper thigh. The doctors said that if the bomb had entered the Humvee an inch to the right, he ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

All of us who marvel at the sound of bagpipes at a funeral realize the majesty that people like piper Scottie Maclellan can lend to any “homecoming” and for years there has been a wonderful tale out of Nova Scotia that leads this week’s parade of The  Saturday  Funnies. Mind you, I do not write these stories, as many who have followed man’s laughter down through the ... (click for more)