Sprints Bids Pat Summitt a Fond Non-Farewell // 04.19.12

Mar 4, 2012; Nashville,TN, USA; Tennessee Lady Volunteers head coach Pat Summitt cuts down and waves the net after her team defeated the LSU Tigers 70-58 during the finals of the 2012 SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE

REACHING THE SUMMITT: THE RETIREMENT OF A LEGEND

Earlier on TSK: Pat Summitt Steps Down from Tennessee

Rocky Top Talk: Nothing Changes
And they mean that in the nicest way possible.

Whether or not she's the head coach has nothing to do with what she's done, and will have nothing to do with what she does as long as there's a Tennessee Lady Volunteer basketball program. The program will be defined by Coach Summitt, up in lights and on the court, and none of us would have it any other way.

Besides, as they point out -- who in the world is going to tell Summitt that she can't do whatever she pleases?

Head coach emeritus
I wasn't even aware that there could be such a position -- and even Summitt and the program seem to be struggling to define it in a way that isn't several paragraphs of what she can and can't do.

"We had to give it a name; that's pretty much what it is,'' she said. "They kind of outlined everything. I don't know exactly what it's going to be. We have some things we have to talk about."

The simplest way of describing it seems to be simply saying that she'll be a goodwill ambassador and help in recruiting. Again, really whatever she wants.

Summitt takes a job at Marquette
That would be Tyler Summitt, son of the Tennessee head coach emeritus, who announced his post with the women's basketball team at Marquette on Wednesday as well.

CALLING FOR HOGS: REPLACING PETRINO

Speaking of retired Tennessee coaches
Phillip Fulmer has finally reacted to all of this talk of him heading to Arkansas. And while the headline was PHILLIP FULMER DENIES CONTACT BLAH BLAH BLAH, what I found most interesting was this bit.

"When I left Tennessee, I was asked if I would coach again, and I said I would consider it if it was at a place where I could compete for a championship," Fulmer said. "Arkansas does qualify as that kind of place, as there is a very solid foundation there."

In other words, have your people call my people. Not that any of that means that Jeff Long is actually looking to hire Fulmer or anyone else. But Fulmer has to be the most honest person about the search so far, and you have to at least respect that when some many other coaches (cough Garrick McGee cough) are hiding behind ridiculous coach speak and made-up policies.

And you were beginning to think it couldn't get any stranger
I'm not sure how this makes any sense to either Arkansas or Pete Carroll -- even accounting for the fact that he used to work there as a GA -- but apparently the two had some sort of discussion about the head coaching job in Fayetteville.

Sources tell 5News Sports that Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was contacted by Arkansas officials about the Hogs Head Coaching opening, but turned them down. Sources also tell us that it was Steve Mariucci that initially contacted Arkansas officials about the opening.

Care to deny this, coach?

Um, okay.

What, nobody gave $20,000?
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has contributed $1 million to Arkansas' Student-Athlete Success Center in response to the firing of Bobby Petrino. Maybe doing the right thing does sometimes pay off.

In addition, the foundation's chairman, Fred W. Smith, made a personal donation of $250,000 to support the center and rename the university's existing student-athlete development program as the Jeff Long Student-Athlete Development Program.

Long really did handle this situation about as well as anyone could have. He might not have faced the situation at all if he hadn't hired Petrino, but at least he knew when to quit digging.

OTHER NEWS

Well that addresses that. Not at all, really
Note the terseness of this statement and the verb tense used in the first sentence.

"Bill Byrne is the athletic director at Texas A&M," he said. "It is our longstanding practice not to address rumors and speculation."

You can parse these things too closely, but there's at least room here for something to be going on. I'd heard that Byrne was not a fan of the move to the SEC, which would mean that some time in June (after baseball and before the actual conference change) would probably be the ideal time for him to step aside or be pushed out if anyone were so inclined.

So we'll file this away under "interesting" and see if anything actually happens regarding Byrne over the next few months.

Because literally registering on the Richter scale just wasn't loud enough
LSU is considering a proposal to boost its stadium's capacity to around 100,000. Isn't there a limit to how many drunk people with a tenuous grip on sanity that should be allowed in that small a radius?

An understandable but kind of dumb idea
So you had the tougher interdivision schedule last year and are going to have it again this year, at least vis a vis the other potential front-runner for the SEC East championship. Then going just by the record within the division might seem like a good idea.

The reality, though, is that it basically makes the SEC two conferences with a scheduling agreement. That would be one of the ways that expansion could actually make the SEC weaker than it was last year, so let's just keep things the way they are and hope Mike Slive and Co. finally fix the scheduling issues.

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