Knoxville, Tenn.--(UTSports) Russell Athletic and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) are honored to announce that beginning this season the commemorative award presented to the Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coaches of the Year will be named The Pat Summitt Trophy in honor of the legendary University of Tennessee Lady Vols head coach.
The award will be officially named “The Pat Summitt Trophy presented to the Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coach of the Year.” It will be the only national coach of the year award to bear Summitt’s name.
“My mother was present in the room in Syracuse back in 1981 when the WBCA was formed,” said Marquette assistant coach Tyler Summitt. “She loves the WBCA. Betty Jaynes, Beth Bass and she talked on several occasions about the WBCA and what mom could do to help the association honor her legacy once she retired. Both mom and I are honored to lend the use of her name to the WBCA for this distinguished award.”
Jaynes, who was the WBCA’s first executive director/CEO, died earlier this year. Pat Summitt and fellow hall of fame coach Billie Moore were among the last people to visit her before her death.
“Russell Athletic is extremely proud to be associated with this award and we are excited that it will now honor Coach Summit’s legacy,” said Senior Vice President General Manager Robby Davis. “Coach Summit and the WBCA represent the values of teamwork that Russell Athletic embodies and we look forward to many great recipients of this award for years to come.”
Pat Summitt, who stepped down as head coach of the Lady Vols in April 2012, is the winningest basketball coach in NCAA history (men’s or women’s, all divisions) with 1,098 career victories. She led the Lady Vols to eight NCAA Division I national championships. In 38 years as a coach, all at Tennessee, she never had a losing season.
Summitt was the recipient of the WBCA’s first NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year Award in 1983. She received the honor twice more – in 1995 and 1998. In 2009, The Sporting News named Summitt the 11th greatest coach of all time regardless of sport; she was the only woman on the publication’s list of 50. Summitt was named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century in April 2000.
“The WBCA is honored that Pat Summitt has graciously lent us the use of her name to recognize the Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coaches of the Year on all levels – high school through NCAA Division I,” said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. “Pat was in the room in Syracuse back in 1981 when the WBCA was formed. She has been one of our biggest supporters ever since. And it is so appropriate that the first time the Pat Summitt Trophy will be presented is in her home state of Tennessee.”
Russell Athletic and the WBCA present the national coach of the year award annually in each of the six WBCA membership divisions (NCAA Divisions I, II and III; NAIA; junior/community college and high school). This is the 32nd year of the honor. For a list of past recipients, visit WBCA.org.
The Pat Summitt Trophy will be presented to the 2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coaches of the Year during the fourth annual WBCA Awards Show on Monday, April 7, in the Omni Nashville Hotel’s Broadway Ballroom. This event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women’s Final Four®.
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About Russell Athletic:
For more than 100 years, Russell Brands, LLC, has supplied America’s athletes and teams with the latest innovations to help them perform at their best and is a leading supplier of apparel and team uniforms at the high school, college and professional levels. Russell’s collegiate licensed products and athletic wear are broadly distributed and marketed through department stores, sports specialty stores, retail chains and college bookstores. For more information, please visit www.RussellAthletic.com, facebook.com/russellathletic, Twitter.com/RussellAthletic.
About the WBCA:
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association promotes women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as a sport for women and girls. For more information on the WBCA, please visit WBCA.org.