Kim Caldwell drops humble statement as Tennessee names new Lady Vols HC: “I’ll never be Pat Summitt”

Former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt and new Vols coach Kim Caldwell

Former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt and new Vols coach Kim Caldwell

The Tennessee Lady Vols recently announced the appointment of Kim Caldwell as their new coach replacing Kellie Harper after a round of 32 exit in this year’s NCAA tournament.

During her unveiling, Caldwell had a humble message for Lady Vols fans.

“Pat Summitt changed the game of basketball and wouldn’t she love to see where the game is now,” said Caldwell. “I will never be Pat Summitt, nobody can. But I will strive every day to be somebody that she would be proud of.”

Pat Summitt is not only a Lady Vols legend, she was a college basketball legend who led the Volunteers to 8 national championship titles during her tenure as coach.

Kim Caldwell seeks to recreate Pat Summitt’s legacy

Kim Caldwell has become a unique hire for the Lady Vols as the first coach hired since Pat Summitt herself, who had no direct ties to the program before she became coach.

Holly Warlick, who followed Summitt, was a player for the Lady Vols and was on Summitt’s coaching staff. Kellie Harper, who was Caldwell’s predecessor, was also a former player, winning multiple national championships.

Caldwell showed her savvy by meeting with former Tennessee athletic director Joan Cronan, who worked with the legendary Pat Summitt. She spoke about the reasons why she met with Cronan during her unveiling.

“I haven’t been here long and I know I have a lot of history to catch on,” said Kim Caldwell. “Thank you Joan Cronan for meeting me Sunday and the advice that you gave me. And trust me, as soon as I’m done here, I’m going to get back to work.”

Harper had a 108-52 record to go alongside two Sweet 16 appearances during her tenure and Caldwell has her work cut out because the former coach’s most glaring mistake was not being Pat Summitt.

Kim Caldwell has a 271-31 coaching record and was named the Division I Rookie Coach of the Year this year as coach of the Marshall Thundering Herd.

Current athletic director Danny White made the connection between Summitt and the expectations of any potential Lady Vols coach.

“Obviously, an enormous part of why we’re here and why women’s basketball and women’s sport at large is where it is in this country is because of the legendary Pat Summitt,” said White. “We understand the enormous responsibility that being a caretaker and a steward of this program has because of all that she accomplished here.”

Kim Caldwell will have big shoes to fill as she won’t be compared to the coaches she succeeded but rather to the late great Pat Summitt against whom every new coach is measured.

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