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SEC Media Day

Oct. 25, 2012

Complete Lady Vol head coach Holly Warlick transcript:

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(On replacing Pat Summitt)
"Why would it be the worst job in the country?... I love the opportunity to follow Pat Summitt. I've been associated with her, I've played for her, I've worked for her. It's a great opportunity for me. It's a challenge, absolutely. I'm blessed to have this opportunity. It's wonderful. I still have Pat Summitt by my side, don't forget that. I think it's the perfect situation for me. It's all I know and it's all I'm going to continue to do."

(On being at media days by herself)
"I think last year was a great training tool for me. The opportunity to sit with Pat and by her side, and make sure I was there for her and the program. Now, this is about preparation. When you coach with somebody, your mentor, your former coach and your friend for 28 years, it is a learning process for you. I think the pportunities I was given by Pat have prepared me for this day. Last year, being in that situation, has just further prepared me for this day and this season."

(On learning about herself in the last year)
"I think the opportunity to lead young ladies, the opportunity to coach and lead them in the direction of where we wanted to go. The understanding of the commitment of what it takes to be a head coach, especially at the University of Tennessee. Just all aspects. I got the chance to do media, to do community service, with practice, games, I did those things. It just went to a different level. I had the opportunity to understand the time commitment and I loved it. I enjoy it and it's what I was meant to do."

(On what was different becoming head coach)
"I understood the term commitment, but I didn't really know the day-to-day activities and the amount of time spent away from basketball. Obviously with recruiting, with speaking, talking to the media, those types of things have been more than I had anticipated, which is fine. I love doing that stuff. Then you're involved with your team and trying to get them ready. We have a young team. Then you turn around and take a new coach with a young team and it's a lot of time and a lot of commitment."

(On the young team adding to the challenge)
"I love this team and I love how they play so I recruited them. If I came in and hadn't recruited these young ladies, maybe it would have been more of a concern. I knew what I was going into and I knew what I was getting as far as the freshmen class. It hasn't complicated matters really."

(On having the most difficult job in the country)
"What the test is the commitment that the university made to Pat Summitt and the women's basketball program. She built a great foundation. We're building on that foundation. Tennessee isn't going anywhere. We're still expected to win. We're still expected to win championships. I wouldn't expect anything less than want to beat Tennessee whether Pat Summitt is there or not."

(On Pat Summitt's reach across the nation)
"I think it's absolutely a test of what Pat has done, the opportunities she has provided young women. We lead the nation in attendance, but we're everybody's biggest crowd on the road. So that's the test of this program and what Pat Summitt has built. And the young women that came before. The great players - Bridgette Gordon, Chamique Holdsclaw, Candace Parker, Tamika Catchings - those kids help build this foundation."

(On last year's experience helping this year)
"Not only did I have Pat there, we had a strong staff. Mickie DeMoss was there who has had 20-30 years of coaching experience. Dean Lockwood was there. We had an abundancy of experience. If I felt like I had to get up today and coach by myself, I'd be a nervous wreck, but I have a great staff. I know how to use my staff, I used our staff last year. Probably the most difficult thing was I'm up leading the team and I'm turning around asking Pat a question. That was probably the most difficult thing for me. But I think you surround yourself with great people. I think with Dean Lockwood there and adding Kyra Elzy and Jolette Law, I have so much confidence in their coaching ability, their knowledge, their ability to lead these ladies on and off the court. I don't feel like this is Holly's world and I'm out there by myself. I feel like I have a great staff. Off the court, around me, giving me her opinions is Pat Summitt. I have a lot of resources. This isn't about me and I'm not making these single sole decisions."

(On relationship with Pat Summitt)
"I love it. I will tell you this. Pat and I have probably had more conversations non-basketball related now that she has stepped back off than before. Pat is going to always be a great friend of mine, that's how it is. I'm going to protect her and I'm going to be around her. She is a mentor and just a fabulous friend to myself. I see Pat so much in a different light than everybody else does. I understand she's a legend. I see her as Pat, my friend, my former coach. I have a different perspective of Pat."

(On having some of Pat Summitt in her coaching style)
"I will say this. We're going to get it right. If that has Pat Summitt in me, then that's awesome. We don't have a lot of rules but when we don't do things right, there's a consequence. There's always a consequence. I wasn't happy with some things so we got up and ran. I just want to make sure that we're on the same page and it's not a democracy. It's how we want to do things and we're going to do things the right way. If we don't, then we're going to figure out how we're going to get it done."

(On getting Tennessee back to where it's been)
"I'm not concerned that we aren't preseason ranked No. 1. I'm concerned that we have kids in there that are going to play the style we want to play at Tennessee. I think the freshmen we have in, they play up-tempo, they're athletic, they're aggressive. That's where we want to go. Kentucky is very deserving. They lost one starter. They have a great team coming back. They're the team of where we want to go in the SEC this year. We just have to do the things that Tennessee does and that's playing hard on the defensive end, being a great rebounding team, and scoring out of our transitions. I think we have the athletes, and the players in place right now to get it done. We may not be ready to throw the ball up tomorrow, but we will get there with kids coming in with great intensity and our staff leading them."

(On blending the old and the new)
"We don't have so much of a superstar, or that one direct player that we can go to. We're going to grind it out. We have athletes that can get it done. We're going to win by committee. We're going to do it the Tennessee old-fashioned way in playing hard and disrupting. That's how I'd like to start out. If we don't do it, then I'm not going to be ignorant about it. We may have to go back and get into a zone. I just see us using our athleticism and getting back to maybe a little bit of the old style of what Tennessee used to be."

(On approach to coaching)
"I don't have a Pat Summitt stare. She's a little bit more calmer on the sidelines. I'm a little bit more. She used to get on me last year about sweating. She goes `do you have to sweat on the sidelines?' And I said, `yes, Pat. Because I'm a little bit more active than you. You're older, I'm just a little bit younger.' My approach has always been last year is to try to stay in the moment. We have such a tough schedule. The SEC is so hard. I can't look ahead and go `oh God, I have my road trip with Texas and Baylor.' I have to go to UTC where three years ago, the number one class in the country, we won by a last-second shot to beat UTC on their home court. My whole focus has to be the next game, who we have and how we're going to get there. I'm intense. And I probably need to calm down a little bit more. From that aspect. I'm emotional and show my emotion a lot. Good or bad, that's what I do."

(On schedule)
"I think this schedule this year is going to be tough on such a young team. We're mostly sophomores and freshmen. Would I want this schedule going into this year? Probably not. We've done it. I've been a part of it. I've been a part of building us always having the toughest schedule in the country. It would be weird for us not to play Stanford, Rutgers, those types of teams. We're going to continue that."

(On motivation)
"I think we get motivation every day. People's expectations are that we aren't going to be as good as we normally are. We talk about that. We talk about where we want to go, what we want to do and how we're going to get there. We understand that people in front of us and we understand how hard the SEC conference is. These freshmen, I'm not real sure all of them have looked at the schedule and understand how hard it's going to be playing at Baylor and going to Vanderbilt. They don't get it right now. They're just young. That could be to our advantage. All they know is they want to represent the University of Tennessee and that's why they came. They're going to put on that jersey and we're going to make sure they play as hard as they can play and with great effort. If they don't, then we have to change some things."

(On Kentucky)
"They lost one starter. They won the regular season SEC conference. It would be a no-brainer, it's theirs to lose."

(On this team's game)
"I like our game. I think our game is getting more talent. We're getting more young ladies that can do more things. They're not just one-dimensional players. Now you see different people competing for championships. I think you made the comment that guys miss layups too."

(On who had the best offseason)
"As far as working, would be Cierra Burdick. Cierra is to the point where she does too much. In the gym every day, shooting, working on her footwork, working on defense. I've seen so much improvement on Cierra. I think Ariel Massengale took it upon herself to get in better shape, physical condition. I see that being a huge impact on her and taking her game to the next level."

(On Ariel Massengale)
"I think Kyra and Jolette have done a great job. This is her team. You come in and have the pressure of you're the starting point guard at the University of Tennessee and you haven't practiced one second, that's tough. It's a lot of pressure coming in. I think she sees it as her team now. She has the opportunity to lead. I think Kyra and Jolette have both helped her understand what she needs to do, be more vocal, be more present in things off the court. She was a good leader, we're teaching her how to become a great leader."

(On a point guard taking ownership)
"They're going to turn to you. How you handle things and how you direct people is how your team is going to go. If they have a lot of confidence in Ariel, then that's how your team runs. She's been a great leader to Andraya Carter, a freshman that is back-up point guard. She's been a huge leader for her. It shows. Andraya came from a great high school program but I think Ariel has really helped her understand what she needs to do."

(On Andraya Carter)
"She's a combo guard. I think the only true point guard we have is Massengale."

(On Lady Vol brand)
"We're a new team, we have new players, new coaches, new goals. But we still have the same pride. We have still have the same tradition. The Lady Vol brand is built on a huge tradition of doing things right, graduating kids, competing at the highest level. That's not going to change. We have that foundation and we're just going to continue to build on it. We told our kids, we have a baton, we're passing the baton. If you're going to be a part of it, grab it and let's go. Things are different, absolutely. I think Pat put things in place to understand that when she did leave this program, it was still going to be in check, be strong, and continue what she built."

(On the new additions of teams and coaches to the SEC)
"I think the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri is huge. When you bring in a team that has won a national championship that gives you that much more creditability to your conference. Then Vic (Schaefer) was a part of that national championship and now he is at Mississippi State. You look at last year the number of teams we had in the tournament and how successful they were. This is the toughest conference in the country, I really believe that. If you have coached in it or been in it then you understand the difficulty of going on the road and winning. It is huge to win on the road. It is a physical and athletic conference. I think some of the other conferences when they play an SEC team then they realize how different the style is. I think it is an incredible conference and adding those two new teams is a great addition especially on the women's side of sports."

(On how other programs can build their team like Pat Summitt did)
"I think there are a lot of young girls out there that have always wanted to play for Pat Summitt and the Tennessee Lady Vols. Unfortunately, some didn't get that opportunity. I think coaches would use that to their advantage to say that they are going to play against on one of the best teams in the country. We are playing in a conference that has won `x' amount of championships. So I think they use it to sell that they can get their program where Tennessee is. I see it has an advantage. It is basketball, it is South Eastern basketball. We have had more than just Tennessee go to the Final Four. We have had more than just Tennessee to compete in the tournament. So I think it is an opportunity for young ladies to get exposure. If you just look at how many games the SEC programs have on TV. Kids want to been seen. If I have to go to Tennessee on a different team to play on the biggest stage in the country then I want to do that. That is what I would sell the opportunity to play in the biggest crowd in the country. If you could go up there and upset them up there, a conference that gets 7 or 8 in the NCAA tournament and a conference that gets great exposure. I am sure you can twist it around anyway you want to. I honestly believe that the SEC conference is one of the best conferences night in and night out."

(On Holly taking the team in her own hands)
"Fortunately for me I was part of what Coach Summitt accomplished. If you talk to Pat it hasn't just been Pat Summitt it has been about surrounding yourself with quality people. So I have been a part of that, I have watched what she had to do. I have been a part of doing things and how we had to get there. Recruiting, everything that has been done we have had our hands in it. Not just me, all of us had our hands in it to take it where it needs to be. I was a part of that foundation and I am going to sell that. I would be crazy not to. I have been in Final Fours. I have helped win eight national championships. Hopefully it rubbed off, getting there and what to do. I am a part of the Tennessee tradition. It is still Tennessee, we just have a different leader."

(On recruiting to Tennessee without Pat Summitt)
"I haven't had any problem with it yet. I haven't had a young lady say, `well I am not coming to Tennessee because Pat Summitt is not there.'"

(About the longest tenured coach in the SEC being Melanie Balcomb from Vanderbilt)
"If you are competitive you are still going to come after Tennessee, she is going to come after everybody. She is going to go after everyone, that is why she is in the game. She loves competition, it is about winning, you want to win."

(On Vanderbilt)
"That is awesome. We will see what happens when she gets up against a great defensive team. She is a great offensive coach. At times you might think that her players are not as sound as another team, but they are skilled and she knows what she is doing and she gets players that fit her system and they are outstanding. They are hard-nosed kids that play her system and love to do it."

(On the SEC)
"We have talked about Kentucky and I think that Georgia has a veteran group coming back as well. Vanderbilt because they have great offensive players as Melanie says. I think Dawn Staley has done a great job at South Carolina. She has kids that fit her system and style and they are going to be competitive. You can just look across the board. Probably what we aren't familiar with is Texas A&M. We are familiar with Gary Blair and what he did at Arkansas. But I think we have to get familiar with his style and aggressive defense, will pick you up, it is a typical type of SEC team. I am familiar with Missouri because we played them down in the Virgin Islands. But top-to-bottom it is going to be extremely tough. You have Vic [Schaefer] at Mississippi State who is a defensive guru and what he is going to do."

(On Jasmine Jones)
"I will tell you she is a unbelievable athlete. I knew what I thought what she could do, but having her there and watching her, I tell her she is a mini Glory Johnson. Extremely athletic, she is an unbelievable rebounder and is going to be a great defensive stopper for us and she may not know a whole bunch about our system but she just plays hard. She plays basketball. I love her. I love her energy, she has a big heart and she loves Tennessee."

 

 

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