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March 29, 2001

Sonja Hogg

C. Vivian Stringer

Pat Summitt

Chris Weller


Q. Coach Summitt, how has the Final Four changed from the first one to this one?

PAT SUMMITT: We just walked by the entrance and I saw the arena. It looked to be mostly full, at a practice. And then I'm looking at this group right here thinking that maybe we might have had this many people at our practice. I don't even know if we had open practice.

DEBBIE BYRNE: I don't think we did. That was instituted later. Hogg has got the best memory -- she is not coaching any longer. You should probably ask her these questions.

SONJA HOGG: A few years ago, I would remember.

PAT SUMMITT: It has changed tremendously. It's a hot ticket. It's so exciting to see the growth of the game, in particular for this Final Four to become an event. We have waited and worked a lot of years, had a lot of great players and a lot of dedicated coaches and administrators. You know, we just promoted the game, and now, you know, the game is promoting itself, because it certainly is the best game that we have enjoyed to date.

Q. Coach Stringer, I remember last year you telling a story about when Cheyney made it to the Final Four and talking about nobody knew how to say it and they were pronouncing it all wrong. Can you talk about that and the unknown underdog team?

C. VIVIAN STRINGER: Yeah, I remember that Cheyney was a school that had maybe 1,500 students. I was just saying to the coaches coming here that we had two leather basketballs and the rest of them were rubber. I remember NC State, for example, asking if they could have their six leather basketballs that were promised to them in practice and we said, "Look, we're giving you everything we've got." So we gave them the two leather basketballs and the rest of them were rubber, and we took one that had a little bubble on the side. We got pretty good at dribbling because the ball didn't quite bounce the same way. But I remember that as we were winning our game, and I remember one of the people there sitting at the desk that was obviously with the NCAA says, "Oh my God, they are going to win." And it was like, "Well, how do you spell it; how do you say it?" They didn't even know where Cheyney was or how to say it's name. I thought to myself, "Soon, they will." Then it became a topic of debate with Sports Illustrated and the like to, bother to find this tiny school in Pennsylvania, to find out about the little school, Cheyney near Philadelphia that had emerged. But what people didn't realize was Cheyney had been there some years before. The fact that we had gotten there, probably about a year late with our success. But it has changed dramatically now. I think we all know just about every school in the country, thanks to television's popularity and the outstanding job and the ladies here along with others have done to promote the sport.

Q. In the first year you had the NCAA Tournament, it was also the last year of the AIAW Tournament. I'm just wondering, there must have had to have been some healing that went on in that process between the coaches who really thought the AIAW should continue and those who wanted to go with the NCAA. Obviously, the right decision was made, but can any of you just talk about that process a little bit?

CHRIS WELLER: The oldest has to talk about it. Well, it was an exciting time, because you had so much activity. We just were at a coaches' summit meeting, head coaches earlier today, and it was just so quiet. Everybody was just discussing a few items and then they got up and left. Back in those days, we were -- every meeting we ever had was terribly expressive, if you will, and people were -- like Patrick Henry, "Give me liberty or give me death," kind of speeches, as to whether we wanted to stay with AIAW or go with the NCAA type of thing. I'm just glad, as it worked out, it's a sport opportunity for people, and not men or women. I've always said that. You know, they used to have a male's model and a women's model, the women's model being the intramural model, they didn't have much, and the male's model is the one that had everything. I just don't buy that concept -- men and women that prefer the competitive model. Those are kind of the conversations that went on. And a lot of soul searching, a lot of emotion. But always, both groups definitely wanting the same thing, and I think all of the people from AIAW would be very proud of the contributions that they made to make all of this possible, as well.

C. VIVIAN STRINGER: You know, I would like to say that it is a shame, because a great history of women's basketball has been lost, because there doesn't seem to be the kind of embracing that I really do feel personally should take place. And that is that prior to 1982 in the Championship that we were all a part of women's basketball, with the success that we had was due only because of the AIAW. Somehow, the great players that were there, the great coaches that were there, are somewhat loss. It's as though it never happened and that's unfortunate, because it's like, you know, shazam, you are just born and here is your mom and dad and your grandmom and granddad. I just feel it's a shame that we don't make that a part of the archives and a part of our history to understand that there is a growth, for whatever reason, be it financial. And as Chris said, there were a lot of heated debates. I remember one time as a young coach walking into a meeting of a person who eventually became one of my athletic directors, Dr. Ray Burke (ph) at the University of Iowa, and I just remember saying, well, why don't we understand -- I think it was Budweiser or someone wanted to give us this money that we obviously needed, and there were some other -- major philosophical differences that were at issue here. And I don't know what it was, maybe -- maybe it wasn't Budweiser, but something that philosophically the AIAW didn't agree with. And yet, we talked about sites. Should we have them in these small towns or small areas versus these large cities where there could be greater press? There was a feeling, I think of being a lot more in touch, you know, with one another personally, but there were those that thought on a larger -- on a grander scale. And it did create some bad feelings, but I think that it's over, and as we are going forward, it's time. It's been past time to know the great players and the coaches that dated, you know, in that time, AIAW.

SONJA HOGG: I would agree with that. I visited with a young lady just the other day and mentioned the very same thing from the standpoint of the records. It's almost like it did not begin until 1982. And you know, history is history. You can't just wipe out part of history that was made and accomplished, and there are a lot of young women that laid the foundation up to that point in time, and you think of a Lynette Woodard (ph), as far as the most points scored, you think of the Immaculatas (ph), you think of Margaret Wade and Delta State University and what Lucy Harris brought to our game, and that was all before 1982. My first point guard, Pat Summitt, knows quite well, she laid the foundation at Louisiana Tech, and that's Mickey Demonts (ph). She was there. But, you know, not a whole lot was her about her. But things are greater now, I think, and it was definitely philosophy. With the AIAW -- we were visiting in the car on the way over, and you have the old physical education, intramural, teach the classes and coach and you don't give scholarships, you play for the love of the game. Well, our young women played for the love of the game because we were standing at the door at 6 p.m. when the men exited after practice and we practiced every night from 6:00 until 8:30, and we were just as involved. We wanted to win just as much. But got zero for participating, because they could not receive scholarships. So, somewhere in the mix, I think the AIAW at one point in time was away from -- I said this the other day to you -- of falling into the pitfalls, so to speak, of some of the men's athletic, and gosh, you only hear about a few little pitfalls, 95 percent, 96 percent wonderful things. Everyone I think moving to the NCAA has been a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Q. What are each of your biggest concerns about the game going forward?

C. VIVIAN STRINGER: Could you expound a little more? This game, the Final Four now or --

Q. Women's basketball in particular. Are there subjects that are coming up in the last few months that you find yourself talking about more in terms of concern for the future of the game?

PAT SUMMITT: One of my biggest concerns would have to be if there's a commitment nationally to really market our sport. I think we've talked about neutral sites and predetermined sights. I think it is extremely important that we build a stronger fan base at each institution, and continue to do what we can institutionally, to promote not only our own program, but the women's game. I don't see that level of commitment in women's basketball like I see it in men's basketball. I think that's a place that I would highly recommend that every athletic director or every person in charge of the women's program coordinator would take a serious look at, do we have the resources here. I think you have to spend money to eventually make money and to generate the fans. We have done that at Tennessee, and we haven't always done that. And so we, to me, are an example of a program that says we have to have a marketing director and we have to have a budget in place to get out and promote our program and our basketball team, and it is -- it has benefitted us tremendously. But, you know, there are other schools doing that. But when you look at the big picture, how many are really committed, and that's key in our growth. Then we're not concerned about the sites and the fan base. I think we will establish a much larger fan base and revenue opportunities for our game.

Q. Coach Stringer, you just played Southwest Missouri State. Jackie Stiles, is she stoppable, and do you think Purdue has the athletes, the players to beat Southwest Missouri State?

C. VIVIAN STRINGER: Is Jackie Stiles stoppable? We didn't stop her. I don't know that anybody has. She's a great athlete. I think that we all have to just appreciate a young lady who has made herself into a basketball player and has worked hard. Obviously the coach has done a real fine job of getting her free, because it's not like she surprised us. We have taken great pride in, I would venture to say, 95 to 97 percent of the teams we have played in Rutgers who are at least 10 points off their average. And you know what, what is her average? 32? She still got it. Those will look for the excuse and say she got 18 out of 19 free throws. Guess what: We had to foul her to stop her, obviously. So I make no excuses for that. She is an outstanding player. And you know, if you philosophically say how could it be one player -- but the thing people mistake is just Jackie. Fortunately for us, we had the opportunity to see them play the night before when they played Toledo. And when Jackie got hurt and was not playing, her other counterpart dropped in 42, so I learned we had better play the triangle in two. We had not done the triangle in two this year, but as you know we struggled all this year, so we were lucky to play our regular defenses. So while we might have wanted to put a player that we had that I think might have been able to stick with her a little more, Linda Miles, she just tore a muscle the day before in a practice and so we really didn't feel like she could do it. She tried to stay with her a little bit, but I don't think it would have mattered a whole heck of a lot. She is going to get hers. I have heard some coaches say let her get hers, let her work to get hers, but definitely do a better job on all of the other people. You know, when I look at it, statistically, the other people still didn't have great numbers. In fact, the point guard who only scored two points still got her only two points. The center who got her six, she still got her six. She just got them in the first couple of minutes in the game. But Jackie is going to get hers. I guess the key is how everyone else is going to do. And to make a prediction, I don't know. Probably with the adrenaline flowing and everything that's here, Purdue is going to have a tough time. If the inside can maintain for Southwest, but they obviously did with us, so I don't know. They are a fine team and I guess if the NCAA is happy; and if we lost anyone, I'm happy that it's Jackie Stiles, because I think the nation needs to see the scoring leader and in particular for young girls who are listening to a young lady who was -- she was a fine player, but shoots 1,000 shots a day, how much of us have players that shoot 1,000 shots a day?

PAT SUMMITT: She made a thousand shots a day. It might have taken her 1,100 attempts (laughter).

C. VIVIAN STRINGER: So that's key. So that story needs to be there. I wanted to call a couple of my players saying, "Look, trying shooting a thousand shots a day. Let me know how many hours it's going to take to get those shots down." So I think it is a good example for everybody.

Q. Is there a special bond among the coaches who have been through the AIAW to see the game grow to where it is now? When you come to these sort of things, do you find yourself reminiscing more?

PAT SUMMITT: I think there is more than just a bond. I think there is an incredible level of respect. We have been through the trenches. We have paid a lot of dues. We've witnessed the growth and positive results, and it's so gratifying, and through the hard times, think we pulled together and called each other. Maybe coaches need to look at that today, how they respond to each other. I think it's so important that you can have professional friendships. And when you step off the court, really understand that we are all in this. Yes, we all want to win, but I think we all were committed to helping grow the sport, and we feel that in some ways, it belongs to all of us. We share in it. And we still are striving to get better and want this game to continue to grow.

C. VIVIAN STRINGER: Those of us that are here and those of us who were part of the AW, we were involved in basketball for the love of the sport. You know, like, for example, I didn't get paid for 11 years at Cheyney. I was just glad that they didn't give me a class at 7:00 in the morning when I got off the road. And none of these coaches -- we were there for the love of the game. And you have to wonder, so many things happening and so many of the other enticements of those that might come in a little later, is it the passion for the game? And as Coach was saying, because we go back for such a long time, when we lost at the end, you just shake hands and still love that person, care about that person, call up when you hear about them being sick. It's not a hatred. It's a love. It's a passion. We just happen to be coaches and we have to compete and there has to be winner or loser, but we don't win and lose in life and as people. Personally again, that's something that I wish was back in basketball, and I just hope that it can stop. We just need to be a lot more compassionate and caring, and as people and everyone can just appreciate that it is just a game. That's all that it is, really.

CHRIS WELLER: I just think that what we feel for each other as older colleagues is that when all of us started, and still to this day, we understand that the game is so much bigger than all of us, and we are just so lucky to be a part of it. It is -- I mean, we are not best friends, but we are caring colleagues and we do what it takes to -- we try to do the right thing for each other, for the sport, and I think that that's something that in our growth, our rapid growth, sometimes it gets forgotten, and that's sad. But then once people are around for a while they understand how important it is to respect your colleagues and care about them, because we are all a piece of something very big and very special. We try to transmit that to our players, and I think we need to transmit it to you ourselves. I think men's basketball, it's one of the things that I've noticed about them is that they are very competitive, but they are very loyal to one another, and I think the older coaches in women's basketball are pretty loyal to the pros. And the younger coaches are developing that as the game matures. You know, hopefully we're all people in both men's and women's basketball feel that camaraderie.

Q. When you sit here this morning, you are struck by the humility of the best players in the game. When you were talking about marketing this game, how important is that to the progress of this game, and do you think it is what will ultimately turn people to watch it women's basketball?

C. VIVIAN STRINGER: Let me give you a chicken-or-egg theory. When I was at Cheyney, even though we only had capacity for 3,000, the place was packed. And I was invited to come to Iowa. Well. There's 15,000 seats there. What was most important was I don't want to play to an empty arena. There was a guy from Sports Illustrated who came to talk to me just before we left, and I said, "Well, do you have to win first and the people come or is it that you get the press to support it and say there is a great product and then people will come?" I guess my thought was that, you know, if I started looking up in the sky, invariably everyone else is going to look up in the sky. "I wonder what she's looking at." When you walk down the street, everybody crowding in a corner playing marbles, everybody starts to gather around. My suggestion is when you suggest something is good, a product, obviously when people come they have to see a good product they don't want to see you fumbling. They want to see excellent basketball. But on the other hand, the press, when I talk about marketing, I'm saying that we need to get the promotions people, the marketing people, the university needs to spend the money, the time and understand the strategies that were involved, and clearly at the University of Iowa long before we deserve to have packed crowds. An example, in my second year there we had 22,157 people -- I remember that number because I still can't get over it; in an arena only that seated 15,000. Heck, we had only come off a losing season my first year and we were trying to bring 500. But the press was so positive in their support in just saying, you know, these young ladies are working hard, they are going to be fine. And I am just suggesting that they brought about an interest. And I give it to the press and the president of the University of Iowa, Dr. Crandler (ph), the people there that promoted the theory of the egg first, or the chicken, whichever it is, whichever one, but it was not us. We still don't know. This team did not deliver. It was the press that delivered and ultimately, you know, it bore itself out. But we do need to get that kind of support.

SONJA HOGG: You know, at Iowa at that time, that particular time with Vivian, you would look at the universities that had totally separate departments and those are the ones that did most of the marketing, so to speak for women's athletics and women's basketball. Iowa being one of those, Tennessee being another, University of Texas being another. We at Louisiana Tech down there just sort of stirred the bushes, I guess, a little bit because we were all in one department. But you see that the extra effort at that time being taken with that particular --

PAT SUMMITT: I think what she just touched on, stirring bushes, we tried to do both. We did have separate departments, and someone suggested the other day that obviously we had a great marketing department. But our development, we have 15 fully-funded scholarships and appeared about five years we raised 8 million dollars from the community. But our student athletes and our coaches and our administrators got out in the community. And there's one thing in women's basketball, is to have those role models and to get them involved in school reading programs or to have a Saturday morning camp for the kids in the area, underprivileged kids. We tried to touch as many people in our community in all ages, and it has really been, I think, a very important aspect of our development, not only in just marketing and the resources and all of the ads and certainly we need that, but we really tried to get out and let people know that we are just -- we are just like them. We just have a passion to play and we want them to be there and be a part of our family.

Q. As somebody that broadcasted way back in the 70s, has Title 9 been all that you thought it would be? Could any of you describe what a great basketball player Lynette Woodard was?

PAT SUMMITT: I'll take the second since you all coached Lynette. You all can speak to the first.

SONJA HOGG: Well, Lynette was wonderful, I know. But I have to second that with her. And I'm sitting here -- the first question, title nine. Of course, that was in '72. When the president called me to see if we wouldn't maybe start a little program in '74, in the back of his mind probably was Title 9 looming, from '72. And I think it probably opened a lot of doors and forced some things at that particular time. But we took the position down there that we were going to make a go of it and do it right, with his support. I still give full credit and I miss my right arm up here, Leon Bardmore (ph), to be honest with you, because he came into the program after the third year and we had won the state championship, which was a new thing at that time and brought him on board with FJ Taylor, who was our president at that time for 25 years. I thought that did an awful lot to encourage that. I think Title 9 has opened a lot of doors, and sort of forced some hands and has done that quite well. I don't know how many would have done that unless there had been Title 9.

CHRIS WELLER: I agree. Title 9 -- without Title 9, we probably would not be having this press conference right now. I'm not sure it could have come from the heart, but I think that the rapid growth now -- once people become familiar with something, then they all can embrace it. But I don't know that we could have gotten anybody familiar so that they could have been -- it's how you break down all bias in life is you've got to interact. And when the women were allowed to be interactive with the concept of the men's program, then the attitude started to change into honestly accepting the environment.

C. VIVIAN STRINGER: I want to say this, though, about Title 9. You know that women lost a lot of coaching jobs, if you want to know that side of it. More than 98 percent of the women, coaches of women's teams were women, but, of course, with Title 9, it opened a lot of things. I guess you can look at it a lot of different ways. There are less than half of the women coaching Division I schools are women. So, the opportunities have opened the door, you see in television all these other great things, even the pro level that's starting to come out of that. But what happens on the job side of it, I guess the pay cuts, the exposure, a lot of things. It's a deep question and it certainly deserves a lot more than a three-minute answer. But there's a lot you need to know about that.

PAT SUMMITT: Just to speak to Lynette Woodard, I had an opportunity in '84 to coach Lynette. She was captain of our Olympic team. The thing about her was she was committed to all aspects of being the best she could be for the U.S. Olympic team. And going into that situation, I was a little skeptical. I didn't know. I didn't know Lynette that well and I didn't know if she could take on the role of our captain and lead our basketball team. And Kay, who was one of my assistants had great confidence in Lynette, and I could not imagine going through that experience without Lynette Woodard. She did everything from be the example in practice with her intensity at both ends. She took charge, as I remember one day I had gone to Lynette and said, "If you will take whatever I ask you to do, no one will ever question anything that we're doing." And she took four charges one day in practice to the point, I would say, "Get up," and she took another and another. I mean, the kids on that team, the players just respected her so much, and she led by example. She played from the heart. She was not only a terrific defensive player and rebounder, but she is known for her points. The thing about Lynette, even on an off-shooting night, she could figure out how to rack up a lot of points, and she would do it off her defense, off her board play, she would get to the glass. She's just terrific. I think we have players that today are similar to Lynette Woodard. But it's like we are talking earlier, we don't really know all of those great names, because some of us have not been around the game as long. Some of you haven't. You see a lot of great players today, but there were many of them back in Lynette's time that really left their mark on the game and she certainly left her mark on the game.

SONJA HOGG: With the exception of you, Mel.

PAT SUMMITT: Mel's been here since the game was invented, I guess.

Q. Was there anything intriguing about coaching the men's team at Tennessee, and how much interest did they have in you in this last month?

PAT SUMMITT: Well, I think that certainly it was an honor for me to even be regarded by the administration as a potential candidate for the job. But my passion has always been in the women's game. I really, I like the young men that are in our program. I think there are some terrific players, and I think there's some great competitors and individuals there, and I had a chance to really get to know them better this year than before. But I just couldn't imagine walking into Thompson Bolen Arena (ph) and practicing or coaching with any other team other than the Lady Vols. That's my team.

Q. Just wondering if you could each take five seconds to say what in the last two years is the greatest moment in women's basketball, this tournament -- it doesn't have to be your team, but it can be your team. Just something that you think should be on -- if there were a five-minute highlight film, what's got to be on that highlight film.

CHRIS WELLER: There's so many. I can't pinpoint one. I just, personally in the ACC, I can recall having a Media Day preseason with the men for the first -- for the first couple of years that we had it, and they made the announcement that we were going to have a television package and I can remember that -- it almost brought tears to my eyes because I was just so excited that there was going to be a Conference television package. That's not a national thing, but it definitely impacted our Conference, which I hope has helped the national scene.

SONJA HOGG: I can speak to the Lady Techsters in particular. I remember probably the highlight, one of the Championships, it was in January of 1979. We had white-knuckled it all the way to California because none of the team had flown on an airplane. We had scheduled three games out there, UCLA, Pepperdine and USC, and had done that the year before. UCLA goes on and wins the National Championship in 1978. So here we are, flying to California to play the defending national champions, and I never shall forget, we won the first game at Pepperdine. And we walked in Polly Pavilion, and those, you know, championship banners look like they were dragging the floor. And our kids were just wide eyed and could not believe we were: No. 1, in California; No.2, we were in Polly Pavilion; and No. 3, we were playing the defending national champion. Bottom line is, we won that game, by four points. Leon and I embraced -- and we embraced in front of Billy on her end down there -- they didn't keep us in our coaching boxes too long. And that really was the turning point from the standpoint we probably went on two days later and won at USC and from the time we flew back and got into Louisiana, we were up to No. 8 in the country. And that was in '79, and I don't think we fell out of that Top-10 ranking until how long --

Q. '91.

SONJA HOGG: There you go. And Billy is a great friend of ours and she said, "We're just so happy that we could make the Techsters successful and the turning point in the whole program." And that in my mind, and, of course, the Championships, were very special, but that was a special time.

PAT SUMMITT: Twenty years ago when we were sitting at a press Conference in Norfolk, we were playing in the first NCAA women's Final Four. To me, that was key. We had, obviously had a lot of years prior to that, but we had limited opportunities, and going under the umbrella of the NCAA in my opinion, really allowed us to game instant credibility and move forward in this game.

C. VIVIAN STRINGER: I think that -- when I think about the first NCAA Championship, with me, I had a daughter who was in the hospital, so I really wasn't quite there. I sort of went and didn't really know, and I say that all the time; it was true. But I do think that -- I remember that we didn't have a band. And probably the funny part was that at the end of our first game, we had played Maryland and had won and one of my vice presidents grabbed me, picking me up, started hugging me, kissing me, saying: "Yes, Bell Atlantic had just donated $10,000 and that's going to take care of all of our expenses." And I was just elated because I knew that we didn't have the money, and it was just good because we were able to pay for that. I was just relieved that the school did not have the burden of that bill. But the one that the brings tears to my eyes most often is the 22,000 people that came to Iowa, because I had no idea that all of those people would come. And it was quiet that day. I remember thinking that I would be -- that so many people say, "I'm coming to the game, I'm coming to the game." And when I walked into the arena, it was so quiet until they opened it up. Everything was black and gold and there was a huge concourse at the top, and it was all glass around that and the place was as dark as you could see it, but it was all black and gold. Looked like a bumblebee and everything was just humming. Honestly, tears came to my eyes. I didn't even know how to get to the seat, I was so grateful, so thankful that they had given us this afternoon. And you know, she and I met at halfcourt, we shook hands and we hugged for a second and we said, "You know, this is basketball history," because never in the history of women's basketball had so many people gathered. And we wished that it could stop right there. You know, I didn't want to lose; I didn't want to disappointed people. But you know, the truth of the matter is that I realized just as you said, it was much bigger than us, because so many people would come. There were thousands of people who had parked alongside the highways and just sat and listened to the game. And it was Ohio State and it was Iowa and we know that we had marked a very historic moment in history. And at the end of the first half, I said, "Gee, I wish the lights would just fail and we didn't have to come back on," and that would be it.

PAT SUMMITT: Did you win?

C. VIVIAN STRINGER: No, we lost. We did lose. You're right, because the game -- the game, the significance of the people, the game is much bigger than the score. We lost the game, but nobody remembered that. Everybody took a memento. I met a girl last week who came to the game, a friend of mine who's daughter has moved to Princeton -- and he said, I have my daughter who is 18 years old; she was in the audience when she was two years old, or something like that. It was like amazing. But that's the moment that I think -- that's the moment, really, that most signifies the turning point for me in women's basketball in my mind.

DEBBIE BYRNE: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts....

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