Holly Warlick has been named the new women's basketball head coach.
April 19, 2012
By Brian Rice
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Seated at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Pat Summitt barked out a command to Holly Warlick, something that she had done thousands of times in the relationship between the two that spans 36-plus years. But the command that Warlick, who has known Summitt as a player and longtime assistant, was one she had never heard before:
"Holly, come up here," Summitt said. "It is now time to turn over my whistle to you." With those words, Warlick became just the second head coach that the program has known in the NCAA era.
"Today I feel like the luckiest person in the world," Warlick said. "I get to coach at a school that has always been in my blood. This is my home. People have asked me, `Why have you not left?' And I've always said `Why would I?' It is an honor and privilege to be the head coach at the University of Tennessee."
In his remarks, Tennessee Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart said that there were two questions to gauge the success of a coach outside of the competitive arena.
"The first question is `Did I make a difference?'" Hart said. "The second question is `Did I have a positive impact on the young people that I coached and mentored?'" It's now the role of Warlick to continue the tradition of answering both questions with an overwhelming "Yes," as it has for the last 38 years. Rising senior Taber Spani said that Warlick is up to the challenge and is excited to get to work as a member of Warlick's first Lady Volunteer squad.
"Her philosophies and values are very much in line with Coach Summitt and what she's about," Spani said. "That's going to make the transition a lot smoother, but Holly has her own personality as well, so we're excited about adjusting to that and looking forward to that."
The Knoxville native will enter her first season as the Tennessee head coach bench having already been a part of 949 wins as a Lady Vol player or assistant coach. The symbolic gesture of passing the whistle was a small part of the transition for Warlick.
"Pat giving me her blessing was the biggest thing," she said. "She has been a coach for me, a mentor, and a great friend. To have the opportunity to work under Pat Summitt for 27 years is the most incredible thing. I've been around her, I've seen her stare, I've seen her blow this whistle quite a bit, and hopefully that's one tradition I can carry on, to push these ladies and use this whistle to the best of my ability."