Pat Summitt: “Start your own engine!”

Confidence, courage and character.

That’s what Lady Vols Head Coach Pat Summitt said she tries to instill in her teams. Summitt spoke Tuesday night to the Girl Scouts‘ “Women of Achievement” dinner at the Knoxville Convention Center. She said the key to success – in athletics and in life – is to have a vision, to set goals and to know where you are going.

Raised on a dairy farm with three older brothers and a younger sister, Summitt said she learned that a lot was expected of her. “Dad always said, ‘Hard work never killed anyone,’ but sometimes I wasn’t sure that was true,” she joked.

But, in seriousness, she advised that successful people have to be self-starters. “I tell my teams, ‘I will help you, but I will not start your engine. You have to have a winning attitude.’ This is what it’s all about.”

“You can lead me, but only I can walk the path,” she observed.

Other highlights of the evening:

  • Avice Reid, Holly Warlick and Andrea White were honored as Women of Achievement.
  • Former UT President Joe Johnson introduced Summitt. “You never have to apologize for Pat Summitt. And a lot of presidents from a lot of universities pray for a coach like that,” Johnson said.
  • Johnson also introduced “Gold Award Girl Scout,” Jennifer Wilson, a UT student whom Johnson said has the career goal to become a dean of students some day. “God bless her!” Johnson cracked.
  • Coach Summitt was named an “honorary Girl Scout” and presented with a sash full of badges.
  • Retiring Girl Scout CEO Lucille Griffo was surprised by being presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers as she sat at her table in the audience.

The event had the best attendance in its history, about 500. Among those in the audience: Jennifer Holder, Joan Cronan, Becky Hancock, Janet Testerman, Janet Crossley, Linnie and Charley Sexton, Shaun Fulco, Ellen Robinson and Peter Acly, Alan Carmichael, Lauren Christ, Bruce Hartmann, Jenny Hines, Amy Nolan, Deborah Sanderfur, Diana Morgan, Kay Clayton, Ann Goldstine, Mike Carroll, Georgiana Vines, Judith Foltz, Booth Kammann, Cindy Hassil, Michael Grider, John J. Duncan III, and Sam and Mary Anne Beall.

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