Most conspicuously, for the first time since , Holly Warlick will not be on the sideline. The Lady Vols will also have to replace a lot on the court after losing four players to graduation or transfer. Seven players return, but only three played more than 15 minutes per game last season, so there appear to be plenty of positional battles ahead in Knoxville.
Another new wrinkle for Tennessee is that, for the first time since , Tennessee will play UConn, rekindling a rivalry that burned brightly under Summitt and current UConn head coach Geno Auriemma. The two schools agreed last August to resume the series with games at UConn next season and at Tennessee in Great coach.
She was amazing to me. I have … a whole lot of love for [former UT assistant coach] Dean Lockwood.
So that one was a toughie for me. I wish her nothing but the best. I already feel like it is a family. Roster upheaval Harper will have to wait several months for her first victory on the court, but she has already gotten a few wins on the recruiting trail with the signings of Australian freshman Jessie Rennie and junior college transfer Jaiden McCoy , who hails from Knoxville.
McCoy is one of only two in-state players on the roster and the first player from Knoxville since Johnson, who graduated in Collins announced a few weeks later that she would sign with Maryland, her home-state university.
Their transfers leave the Lady Vols with only seven returning players and only six who have played in a game for UT. Graduate transfer Lou Brown tore her ACL in the preseason last year and was granted an additional year of eligibility for When Johnson was asked about the coaching change, she suggested that the players—not the head coach—would be the most important factor in making the program elite again.
People would work hard for Pat because she was Pat. When we were there, we worked hard for Holly because she was Holly. The rivalry will also look different than either side expected last summer because Westbrook will be in UConn blue rather than Tennessee orange.
It gets people excited.
But she may have to wait until to face her former team; the NCAA has yet to rule on her waiver application to be eligible immediately rather than having to sit out a season as a transfer. Even though much is changing in Knoxville, UT alumnae still see continuity with the program they knew as players.
The common thread, nearly a decade after she stepped down as head coach, is still Pat Summitt.
The discipline I learned from her, the leadership, you know, she stayed on me a lot to be more talkative. She really made a big impact on my life. But Lady Vols alumnae are confident that passing the baton to another one of their own will pay off big for the program.
Perhaps the new head coach can even restore the championship tradition of old on Rocky Top. Join our Patreon now and support this work, while getting extra goodies and subscriber-only content for yourself.