Summitt honored with star at Volunteer Landing

KNOXVILLE (UTSports.com) -- University of Tennessee Women’s Basketball Coach Pat Summitt is the first person honored with a star on the new Riverwalk of Fame during a ceremony on Volunteer Landing.

The unveiling is set for 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, January 5, near the base of the pedestrian bridge connecting downtown with Volunteer Landing.

The Riverwalk of Fame - which will stretch along Volunteer Landing - will honor people from Knoxville and the surrounding area who have made a great mark nationally or internationally and in doing so, brought honor to East Tennessee. The honorees can range from writers, musicians, actors, athletes and coaches to scientists, astronauts, statesmen and others of note.

It’s anticipated that there will be one ceremony annually at which up to three people would be inducted into the Riverwalk of Fame. Summitt, however, will be the only person honored during this initial ceremony.

Mayor Bill Haslam made the announcement that Summitt would honored after she won her 1,000th game as the Lady Volunteers coach last February.

Each person on the Riverwalk will be honored with a large star that will include their name as well as a small, but significant, symbol of what that person did that made a difference in people’s lives. In Summitt’s case it will be a basketball.

“We’re all proud of Pat Summitt and always happy to have an opportunity to let her know how much she means to us,” Haslam said. “She’s a great choice to be the person honored with this first star on the Riverwalk.”

Susan Richardson Williams approached the City of Knoxville early last year with the concept of a Riverwalk of Fame honoring accomplished individuals from Knoxville and East Tennessee. She also suggested to both the city and the University of Tennessee that Summitt would be a great first honoree.

The city’s has created a committee and developed criteria for selecting future honorees for the Riverwalk that will include substantial input from the public.

Summitt was a 21-year-old senior at the University of Tennessee-Martin which she was offered the UT job in the spring of 1974. Less than a year later she directed UT to a 69-32 win over Middle Tennessee State University on January 10, 1975, for her first win as the Lady Vols coach. At the time she was also attending graduate school, teaching a full load of classes and getting ready to play for the United States in the 1976 Summer Olympics.

Since then her UT teams have won eight NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships, she coached the U.S. Women’s Basketball Team to an Olympic gold medal and all of her players who have completed their eligibility at UT have earned their degrees.


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  • by Tammy Location: Oneida on Jan 10, 2011 at 01:08 PM
    I was so happy to see Pat Summitt get this well deserved recognition. I am also thankful that WLVT featured a segment of my friend and no#1 Lady Vol Fan Sylvia Billingsley from Oneida. She is a very dedicated Lady Vol fan, and I'm so glad she could attend this special event. Sylvia is currently taking radiation treatments for breast cancer, and she had just taken her morn. treatment before attending this event. Coach Summitt is a great person, and a great role model for all ages. Thanks Coach and Syvlia for being an inspiration!!
  • by Melanie Location: Corryton on Jan 5, 2011 at 07:30 PM
    Wasn't there a part of the interview in which Pat Summitt said something about every time the church doors were open her parents had her in church and life is easier if you do for others and live for the Lord? I watched the interview on line and didn't hear that part. Did I just miss it or was it omited?

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