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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Summitt reaches new heights with 1,000th win

Thursday, February 5, 2009


AP Sports Writer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- In this season of lowered expectations for Tennessee, Pat Summitt still reached unprecedented heights: 1,000 victories.

Summitt became the first Division I basketball coach -- man or woman -- to win 1,000 career games Thursday night as her 12th-ranked Lady Vols beat Georgia 73-43. It was their second chance in four days at giving their coach her latest and one of her greatest milestones.

These baby Lady Vols (17-4), with seven freshmen on the roster, are nothing like the squads that brought Summitt her seventh and eighth national championships in the previous two seasons. This is an inexperienced group that had Summitt joking about whether they would even be up to the task of winning the 17 games she needed to reach 1,000 this season.

"It's a hard number to even comprehend," Summitt said.

"It's a time to reflect on a number of things, the administration saying yes to women's basketball and giving us an opportunity to play on the biggest stage in the women's game. I appreciate that."

The landmark win came on the court named for Summitt, who just keeps racking up achievements for others to chase. All the fans in the arena began standing with about a minute left, and they clapped to "Rocky Top" as orange and white streamers fell from the ceiling.

Summitt gave Georgia coach Andy Landers a hug on the sideline.

The Lady Vols were given T-shirts with the number 1,000 on the front, which they pulled on before a celebration on court with Summitt.

Tennessee fans missed the celebration Jan. 29, 2006, when Summitt won her 900th game in Nashville. She won her first game at home, and Nos. 300, 800 and 880 -- the one that pushed her past Dean Smith for most wins by a Division I coach -- came at home. The night she passed Smith, Tennessee renamed the court for Summitt.

One fan confident of the win flashed 1,000 on a sign behind the bench as photos of Summitt over her 35 seasons flashed on the videoboards during timeouts.

Summitt had former Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer cheering her from a luxury suite with men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl also on hand, even though he kept his shirt on with no body paint this time. Billy Moore, who coached Summitt in the 1976 Olympics, and Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive also were in the stands.

Tennessee lost 80-70 to No. 2 Oklahoma on Monday night in Summitt's first try at 1,000.

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