July 1999


Summitt tips off ’99 United Way

big rig
When the Plant and Equipment Division’s George Baber came to retrieve his office chair, which Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt used during an autograph session following the United Way kickoff, she was still in it, so he jokingly asked her to sign it. She did.
University of Tennessee Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt tipped off ORNL’s United Way campaign June 22 with a pep talk in ORNL’s Wigner Auditorium. Coach proved she can fire up UW volunteers as well as her players.

“I know you’re going through a lot of changes; some of them frightening. So have I,” she said. “Regardless of how much things change for you and me, one thing doesn’t change—the needs of our community.”

Summitt co-chaired the local UW campaign in 1996 and aced a $7 million goal. “Now we’ve raised the bar because of the needs of our community. The best thing I’ve ever done in the community is get involved in the United Way.”

Talk then turned to basketball. Summittt said she’s in no hurry to leave college basketball for the pros and there’s an “excellent chance” she’ll finish her career at UT. She likes coaching the college game because “you have curfews” and because pros “don’t feel quite the need to be coached.” And the famous and fearsome “look” that made the Sports Illustrated cover, she said, was provoked by her desire to be rid of a trailing SI reporter.