VAUGHT: Summitt misses DeMoss

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt already misses Mickie DeMoss, her long-time assistant and former Kentucky coach.

DeMoss resigned her position as head coach at UK before eventually accepted a job as assistant coach at Texas this year. While Summitt will miss competing against her, she misses something else much more.

"I miss just being able to see her. I could drive up and visit a day or go play golf. Or she would come down and visit. We didn't necessarily have to talk basketball. She is like a sister to me and is just a great friend. Texas, she seems so far away. I still talk to her, but I still miss her. She was one of best friends I have had or worked with," Summitt said recently.

Summitt hopes UK fans, and others nationally, appreciate what her friend did at Kentucky.

"You have to give her credit. I thought she did a tremendous job in a relatively short period of time. She got things turned around. Look at the interest from fans she created. So much of that is her personality," Summitt, the nation's most successful women's coach, said. "She got out and worked in the community. To me, that's marketing your program like you have to do and we don't do enough of that in Division I basketball. People can sit around and moan and groan about not having people in the stands, but look at what Mickie did.

"I am starting my 34th year. I have been out this past two months speaking, giving back, personally inviting people to come to our games. You have to constantly work at it, and Mickie did."

Of course, Summitt did more to give credibility to DeMoss' program than she probably wanted when UK upset then No. 1 Tennessee two years ago in front of a record crowd in Rupp Arena. Might she do the same for new UK coach Matthew Mitchell, a one-time graduate assistant on her staff?

"I guess I will just make them all feel good. I am not out to help Matthew, but I wasn't out to help Mickie, either," Summitt said. "I was really proud for her that night. It was kind of bittersweet thing. I was upset with our team and the lack of control we managed to take. They were better than us. We got tight and they played loose. It was awesome for Mickie in front of that crowd. To me, that is testimony to what she did."

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