Vols' Summitt seeks win No. 900


Published: Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
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Tennessee coach Pat Summitt takes her first shot at her 900th career victory tonight.

The Associated Press
Pat Summitt is reaching a milestone that makes her stop and say, "Wow!"
Summitt, who became the NCAA's winningest coach last March, takes her first shot at her 900th career win tonight when top-ranked Tennessee visits No. 19 Vanderbilt.
Big numbers are nothing new Summitt, with a record of 899-172 in her 32nd season. She has six national championships, 11 Southeastern Conference tournament titles, 13 regular-season titles and 16 berths in the Final Four.
Still, thinking about 900 victories makes her feel old at 53.
"This number made me stop and think, 'Wow, I have coached a lot of tough basketball games against a lot of tough competitors,"' Summitt said.
She passed Dean Smith's record of 879 victories March 22 in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Only Harry Statham of NAIA McKendree College has won more games, with 906.
The coach who gets the first chance to deny Summitt No. 900 is Melanie Balcomb, who became a head coach when Summitt already had three national titles. Balcomb has coached in 382 games, so the concept of winning 900 games in a career is hard to believe.
"She's coached at a very young age at a very high level with a lot of pressure from Day 1. It's a tremendous, tremendous place to be in and to be able to dominate a sport that long and be able to do something like that, it's amazing to me," Balcomb said.
Balcomb has one victory over Summitt, in 2001 when her Xavier team upset the Lady Vols in the NCAA Mideast Regional semifinal. Tennessee has won nine straight over Vanderbilt since Balcomb took over in 2002.
"I'd rather be remembered as the team that held her back maybe a game or two," Balcomb said.
That could prove easier said than done because Summitt, who started coaching at Tennessee in 1974, is winning games quickly.
She needed three years, 38 days between her 700th and 800th victories, which came in January 2003. She could clinch the 900th win within three years, five days.
Summitt promises she's focusing more on staying atop the SEC (17-0, 3-0) in the second of a four-game road trip, which includes a visit to No. 2 Duke on Monday.

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