KIMBALL, Tenn. -- The court inside Thompson-Boling Arena has carried her name for more than three years, and Saturday afternoon legendary University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt had the peak of a mountain named in her honor.
In her first public appearance since becoming the Lady Vols' head coach emeritus two weeks ago, Summitt was honored by John "Thunder" Thornton during the dedication of his Jasper Highlands residential lots. The picturesque lots offer a bluff view of the Tennessee River and Lookout Mountain on one side and the Sequatchie Valley on the other, and Thornton named the highest point "Pat's summitt."
Coach Summitt and former UT football coach Phillip Fulmer were both present for the dedication.
"These mountains have never been honored like this, to have two people who have accomplished so much in their profession and who are such genuine people," Thornton said. "I couldn't think of a more fitting tribute than to name this mountaintop after Coach Summitt."
Taking time to ask each person his or her name so she could personalize the autograph and smiling brightly for countless pictures, Summitt also joined the band on stage to sing "Rocky Top" before accepting Thornton's $50,000 donation to the Pat Summitt Foundation, which helps those who have been diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer's type.
"We've probably been to 500 or so of these type things from our days traveling on the Big Orange caravan or just making dinner stops to represent our programs," Fulmer said. "It's great to see the reception she continues to get from the fans and just everywhere she goes.
"People can see her accomplishments and recognize what a great coach Pat is, but she's such a special person, too. She's someone who genuinely loves her school, her program and her state, and she enjoys meeting people who are supporters, too."
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...