Staff joins Summitt for her father's services

Coach Pat Summitt's staff put the players through their practice paces early Tuesday morning and then left Knoxville to pay their respects to Summitt's family in Ashland City, Tennessee, after her father passed away.

Richard Head, the 83-year-old patriarch of the longtime Cheatham County family, will be buried Wednesday in Middle Tennessee. On Tuesday, Summitt's assistant coaches, Holly Warlick, Nikki Caldwell and Dean Lockwood, and a host of other Lady Vol staff members, traveled to Ashland City for the family's visitation at Boyd's Funeral Home. The funeral service for Mr. Head, who died Sunday evening, will be at 2 p.m. Central Time on Wednesday at Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church in Clarksville, Tenn.

At least four Lady Vol players will make the trip for the funeral Wednesday. Initially the players weren't going to attend so as not to miss class, but several players either do not have a class conflict or can make adjustments in time to join the traveling group.

"Everybody wants to go, but some have tests and some have classes they can't miss," Warlick said Tuesday after practice.

Shanna Zolman, Tye'sha Fluker, Sidney Spencer and Lindsey Moss will definitely make the trip. Sybil Dosty and Alexis Hornbuckle might be able to make the trip. A graduate assistant will drive the players to the funeral Wednesday, and they will return the same day. The staff also will return to Knoxville on Wednesday after the funeral. The two seniors, Zolman and Fluker, then will travel with Warlick on Thursday morning for SEC Media Days in Birmingham, Ala. Warlick will fill in for Summitt at the conference's media event. The team is off from practice Wednesday and returns to the practice court Thursday evening.

On Friday the Lady Vols will take part in Big Orange Madness at Thompson-Boling Arena. The event begins with a Lady Vol volleyball game at 6:30 p.m., and admission is free. The basketball players will sign autographs on the concourse beginning at 7 p.m. At 8 p.m., the hoops events involving the men's and women's teams get under way on the court and include a three-point shooting contest and a dunk contest. Summitt is expected to be back in Knoxville for Big Orange Madness.

Warlick spoke with Summitt, who was busy with the arrangements and preparing for the influx of people.

"She said there was going to be a whole lot of people there," Warlick said. "He knew a lot of people."

Mr. Head and his family were well known throughout Middle Tennessee, especially in Montgomery and Cheatham counties, and an overflow crowd was expected at both the visitation – Tuesday's was scheduled for six hours – and Wednesday's funeral service. A second visitation will be held for two hours from noon to 2 p.m. preceding the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church Building Fund, 5050 Pickering Road, Clarksville, Tenn., 37403.

Summitt had asked Warlick on Monday to keep the players focused on practice. On Tuesday, they took the court at 7 a.m. and ran through various offenses using different combinations of players.

"I thought they were very good at times," said Warlick, who added that at other times the offensive flow wasn't smooth. "It's combinations. Certain combinations aren't good with each other, and some are better than others."

Warlick said the staff is sorting out those combinations now to find out what will work best when the games begin. Warlick, a former player who filled in for Summitt for a second day at practice, sounded like her old coach.

"One moment they'll have signs of greatness and then they just kind of space out a little bit," Warlick said. "I keep saying it's about their discipline, and that's what they've got to get down. We'll get there. When we drill it in their heads enough, we'll make it happen."

PRESEASON SEC TEAM: Three Lady Vols have been tapped for preseason SEC honors in a vote made by head coaches. Shanna Zolman, a senior guard, and Nicky Anosike, a sophomore center, were named to the First Team. Sophomore guard Alexis Hornbuckle was picked for the Second Team.

Rounding out the First Team were: Tasha Humphrey, Georgia; Seimone Augustus, LSU; Sylvia Fowles, LSU; Armintie Price, Ole Miss; Dee Davis, Vanderbilt; and Carla Thomas, Vanderbilt. The other Second Team picks were: Sarah Pfeifer, Arkansas; Marita Payne, Auburn; Sherill Baker, Georgia; Cori Chambers, Georgia; Alexis Kendrick, Georgia; Samantha Mahoney, Kentucky; and Scholanda Hoston, LSU.

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