Notes: Summitt doing well


Tennessee coach Pat Summitt talks with reporters during Southeastern Conference basketball media day in Hoover, Ala., Thursday. (The Associated Press)

Published: Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 9:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 9:22 p.m.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt said life since being diagnosed with dementia last May has been about routine.

Each morning, Summitt said she drinks coffee and completes 12 puzzles before arriving in her office.

"When I get there my mind is sharp, and that's important," Summitt said. "That's very important."

Summitt, 59, said she has no intentions of retiring any time soon. Entering her 37th season as the Tennessee coach, Summitt has a career record of 1071-199 and has won eight national championships.

"I may be old as dirt, but I'm still trying to win ballgames," Summitt said. "But I do have a great staff right now, and we're really focused on this season."

Summitt took the podium at Southeastern Conference basketball media days with associate head coach Holly Warlick, who has coached with Summitt for 27 seasons. Warlick said the assistants have been involved in practice and administrative duties, but it is still clear that Summitt is the boss.

Tennessee center Vicki Baugh said her coach remains "the same old Pat."

"She handled it in such a classy manner we didn't have time to show too much emotion after she told us," Baugh said. "She was kinda just straightforward with this, 'I have this and I'm still going to be your coach, nothing is going to change.' We just let her know, we have your back coach, and we're there with you. We know you can lead our way."

Summitt said she has received visits from several of her former players and from coaches throughout the country.

"What I want everybody to know is I'm doing great," Summitt said. "Every day I want to get up and I want to go to work and I think that keeps me going."

Slive on expansion, scheduling

SEC commissioner Mike Slive said no decisions have been made on scheduling when the league expands to 13 teams with the addition of Texas A&M next season. Of course, the league could possibly grow to 14 teams. Missouri has set the wheels in motion to leave the Big 12 to join the SEC next season, though nothing has been decided as of yet.

"Our transition team is working on that," Slive said. "We will bring all 13 to the (SEC) Tournament. We'll have to look at the long-term scheduling model. We were going to do that anyway with us going to 12 teams and one division."

Slive said he's been pleased with the initiatives that have helped increase the popularity and quality of the league. He pointed out the SEC-Big East Invitational moving to on-campus sites and the deep runs Kentucky and Florida made in the NCAA Tournament last season as positives.

This season, three SEC teams (Kentucky No. 2, Vanderbilt No. 7 and Florida No. 10) are ranked in the preseason ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.

"All of the success we had last year in the postseason in the NCAA and NIT culminated now in high rankings which is a recognition of what we have been trying to accomplish and it's really meaningful," Slive said. "We are all excited about the season. And it's satisfying because it's been a conscious effort."

Giving back

Former Florida assistant and current Alabama coach Anthony Grant has started a foundation to help the continued relief effort for the deadly tornadoes that ripped through the state of Alabama last April.

Grant said he's received an outpouring of support from coaches from throughout the nation when he started the "Sweet Home" fund.

"It allowed us to impact individuals and their families and schools and communities," Grant said. "If you visit Tuscaloosa, there is still a lot that needs to be done. There's certainly a lot of things that have been done and there is a lot of growth in terms of where we were last April to where we are now, certainly a lot is left that you can affect and impact."

Florida coach Billy Donovan said he tried to call Grant right away when he heard news of the tornadoes last April. Donovan and Grant remain close friends.

"He said he was OK, but he said it was pretty devastating," Donovan said. "He explained to me what was going on and it was pretty rough. ... I've tried to help out Anthony and his foundation and what he's doing there."

Cal: Florida could lead SEC in scoring

Kentucky coach John Calipari said Florida could lead the SEC in scoring this season.

Calipari said he expects the Gators to play up-tempo this season because of their talent on the perimeter. Florida returns starting guards Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton, while adding Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario and incoming McDonald's All-American freshman Bradley Beal.

"They're gonna spread the court," Calipari said. "His best players are going to be those small guys. I imagine three of them are going to start, and two of them are going to come off the bench. And there may be times they will go with four guards and they will say, 'all right, you've got to guard us too, now.' "

Donovan said being tabbed by Calipari as the SEC's best-scoring team "doesn't really mean anything."

"I do feel like we have a team that can be explosive in scoring if we play the right away and we play together," Donovan said. "We can be a very good scoring team."

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