The "Legends of Coaching" Award was adopted by the Wooden Award Committee in 1999, with the first honor going to Dean Smith of North Carolina.
Summitt, the first women's basketball coach to be honored, is collegiate basketball's all-time winningest coach. In her three decades in orange, Summitt has won 947 games and an unprecedented seven national titles, including the 2007 NCAA crown. Summitt's teams have played in an incredible 26 consecutive NCAA Sweet 16s, and have won 26 Southeastern Conference regular season and tournament titles, while compiling an all-time record of 947-180 (.820).
Amazingly, all of Summitt's players since 1976 have done two things: Every Lady Vol player who completed her eligibility at Tennessee played in at least one Final Four, and all have graduated. In collegiate basketball history, Summitt trails only Coach Wooden (11) in NCAA team titles.
The Los Angeles Athletic Club, one of the nation's finest and oldest private athletic clubs, has hosted the Wooden Award since its inception in 1977. The most prestigious individual honor in college basketball, the Award was founded by The Club's Senior Vice President Duke Llewellyn, who continues to serve as the its chairman at age 89.
The John R. Wooden Award is bestowed upon the nation's best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his/her university that he/she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include Michael Jordan ('84), Larry Bird ('79), Tim Duncan ('97) and last year's recipients, Candace Parker of Tennessee and Texas' Kevin Durant.
The Award will be televised nationally on CBS. The five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the ceremony and all finalists will receive a contribution from The Los Angeles Athletic Club for their university's general scholarship fund. In early January, the midseason top 30 men/20 women will be announced. Tickets for the presentation gala may be obtained by calling The Los Angeles Athletic Club at (213) 625-2211.
The Los Angeles Athletic Club, founded in 1880, is located at 7th and Olive Streets in one of Los Angeles' landmark buildings. The current facility, built in 1912, has 12 stories and more than 150,000 square feet of space including 72 European-style hotel rooms.
LADY VOL CROSS COUNTRY: The women's cross country team will close out the regular-season portion of its 2007 schedule Friday, as the Lady Vols take part in the Penn State National Invitational in University Park, Pa.
Race time for the 6,000-meter competition on PSU's Blue and White Golf Courses is slated for 10 a.m. Eastern Time.
The Big Orange, ranked fourth in the NCAA South Region but not rated nationally this week, will face three top-30 foes among the field, including No. 17 Duke, No. 21 West Virginia and No. 30 Penn State. Also expected to be on hand are Akron, Bloomsburg, Brown, Bucknell, Connecticut, Cornell, Cortland State, Guelph, Kentucky, LaSalle, Lehigh, Lock Haven, Maryland, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Quinnipiac, Richmond, Rider, Robert Morris, Slippery Rock, South Carolina, Syracuse and Wake Forest. Syracuse is receiving votes this week in the USTFCCCA Poll.
The Lady Vols enter the fray with a 61-8 overall record this season and are coming off an eighth-place finish out of 47 teams at the Brooks Paul Short Run on Sept. 28. This will mark the fourth time in six seasons that UT Head Coach J.J. Clark has opted to send his squad to Penn State for its final tune-up prior to the Southeastern Conference Championships.
"We usually alternate between attending the Pre-NCAA Meet and the Penn State meet, and we're going back to Happy Valley this year," Clark said. "Our team is coming around to the point I would like to see. In my mind, I thought we would be in a little different spot, but we are definitely moving in the right direction.
"The team is finally finding its chemistry and rhythm of the 6K distance. That's by design. You don't want to come out and be flying too early. They are really starting to click in now, and that's good."
In Tennessee's first three races of 2007, juniors Sarah Bowman and Katie Van Horn have set the tone, finishing first and second, respectively, out of the team's five scoring runners. Bowman, who was ninth overall out of 317 runners in her last outing, has twice earned SEC Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors this season and has led all orange-clads to the finish line in her last four races and in five of the past six, dating back to last year's SEC Championships. Clark is looking for their teammates to close the gap between them and their two leaders.
"Sarah had a solid race last time, and Katie had a solid race as well," Clark said. "We're just looking for someone else to join that club. We need a couple of others on board, and then we'll be OK."
After struggling a bit at the Paul Short meet, sophomore Jackie Areson is expected to move closer to the front of the pack this weekend. Freshman Brittany Sheffey has made strides and finished third among UT runners the past two meets, but she, junior Rolanda Bell and sophomore Phoebe Wright must continue to improve at a rapid pace as UT nears the post-season.
Clark also has a potential ace-in-the-hole in junior transfer Heidi Magill-Dahl. The former BYU standout has not yet made her Lady Vol debut, and it may be at the conference meet where she first represents the Big Orange.
"As far as Heidi is concerned, we're looking to put her into the lineup somewhere," Clark said. "It doesn't look like it's going to happen this week. She is training well, though, and we'll look for her at the SEC meet."
LADY VOL VOLLEYBALL: Having just finished a streak in which it played five of six contests on the road, the volleyball team (7-8, 2-6) will return to the friendly confines of Stokely Athletics Center to take on the top two squads in the SEC Western Division in No. 18 LSU and Ole Miss.
The Lady Vols will square off with the Tigers at 7 p.m. Friday, before hosting the Rebels at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Following this weekend's action, UT will step out of conference for a road showdown with Louisville at 7 p.m. next Tuesday.
The Big Orange is currently in the midst of a five-match winless drought, it's longest since 1999. This past weekend, Tennessee dropped a pair of road contests, falling in four to South Carolina, 30-23, 27-30, 23-30, 22-30, and in three to No. 6 Florida, 27-30, 18-30, 18-30.
Against the Gamecocks, freshman Nikki Fowler led the team in kills for the fourth time this season with 14, while sophomore Farren Powe recorded a career-high .583 hitting percentage with nine kills on 12 swings with just two errors. In its contest with the Gators, Tennessee failed to have a player reach double-digits in kills for just the second time on the year. Junior Milan Clarke was the closest, knocking out nine putaways for the second time on the weekend.
This season, the Orange and White offense has been led by sophomore Leah Hinkey and Fowler. A Glenwood Springs, Colo., native, Hinkey has been a steadying force, leading the team with 77 blocks, 162 kills, a .297 hitting percentage and 215.5 points. Fowler has also been impressive during her rookie campaign with a squad-high 470 attacks and 21 aces. She is also second on the team with 160 kills, 47 assists and 207.5 points.
Sophomore Chloe Goldman, meanwhile, has anchored the UT defense with 4.98 digs per game. That mark ranks the 5'6 Lady Vol libero fifth in the SEC.
The Southeastern Conference Western Division Leader, No. 18 LSU will make the trip to the Volunteer State. The Tigers trail only No. 5 Florida for the overall conference lead with a record of 15-2, 7-1 SEC. The only two losses for LSU this season have come at the hands of the Gators and Iowa State. Tennessee has dropped four of its last five decisions to the Tigers, including a pair in 2006, and trails 27-15 in the all-time series.
A solid, all-around squad, LSU ranks among the top three in five statistical categories in the SEC. It is first in opponent hitting percentage (.135) and service aces (2.20/game), second in W-L percentage (.882) and blocks (2.95/game) and ranks third in kills (15.46/game).
Individually, sophomore Maggie Lonergan paces the Tiger attack with 12.36 assists/game, while classmate Lauren DeGirolamo leads the team with a .338 hitting percentage. Junior Kyna Washington, however, has a team-high 269 kills in 2007.
On defense, junior Elena Martinez tops the SEC with an impressive 5.71 digs/game, while DeGirolamo and sophomore Brittnee Cooper rank third and sixth, respectively, with 1.46 and 1.36 blocks/frame.
The Lady Vols will finish off the first half of SEC play with a 1:30 p.m. contest against Ole Miss on Sunday. UT has dominated the all-time series with the Rebels to the tune of 31 wins to just four losses. Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick has never been defeated by Ole Miss since arriving on Rocky Top, having won 13 in the Big Orange's current 14-game winning streak in the series.
The Rebels rank second in the SEC Western Division behind only LSU, with an 11-4 overall record and a 5-3 mark in conference action.
The most impressive player for Ole Miss this season has been junior setter Rachel Kieckhaefer. Fresh off of her second triple-double of the season, a 44-assist, 15-dig, 10-kill effort, Kieckhaefer will bring the league's fifth-highest assist average (11.47/game) to Knoxville.
Other Rebel standouts include senior Katie Kramer and sophomore Caitlin Weiss. Kramer has amassed 233 kills on the season, while Weiss has 203 putaways.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior libero Tara Langley has been particularly good, averaging 5.06 digs per frame, good for third in the SEC. In the blocking category, junior Emily Jones leads the squad with 66 total putbacks and 1.06 blocks per game.
Following a pair of tough SEC matches, Tennessee will step out of league play for a non-conference matchup against the top team in the Big East this year in Louisville. The Lady Vols, who will take on the Cardinals at 7 p.m. on Oct. 16 in Louisville, Ky., hold a 10-6 advantage in the all-time series between the two squads, including a four-game victory in Knoxville last season.
Louisville currently stands at 11-4 on the year and sits atop the conference standings with a perfect 6-0 record. The Cardinals have a number of options offensively, including junior Jana Matiasovska, senior Svetlana Dukule and sophomores Lecia Brown and Justine Landi. Matiasovska leads the squad with 209 putaways, while the other three have all crossed the century-mark in the kills category with 154, 105 and 102, respectively. Sophomore Samantha Dabbs paces the attack with 11.04 assists per game.
Defensively, the Cardinals rank as the best blocking team in the nation with 4.19 blocks per frame. Brown leads the effort with the country's best individual mark at 2.19 blocks per game (114 total). Just behind her are junior Rui Liu, Landi and Dukule at 1.39, 1.05 and 1.02 blocks/game, respectively.
LADY VOL SOCCER: The women's soccer team will look to get back on track in the SEC this week, traveling to Kentucky and Vanderbilt on the back end of a four-match road trip.
The 14th-ranked Lady Vols are coming off a weekend that saw their six-match unbeaten streak snapped in dropping a 3-0 decision to LSU before tying Arkansas 1-1.
The Orange and White suffered their worst SEC defeat since 2000 in the loss to LSU last Friday. The UT offense was shut out for just the second time this season, while the defense allowed three goals for the first time this year.
Last Sunday, the Lady Vols continued to struggle, taking 23 shots against the Lady'Backs, but only finding the back of the net once. The loss marked just the second time Tennessee has dropped a match in the second week of the league slate under Head Coach Angela Kelly. The Big Orange is now 7-2-2 overall and 2-1-1 heading into this weekend's matches.
Friday night, the Lady Vols travel north to Lexington, Ky., to face the Wildcats. Kentucky enters the week with a 6-4-2 overall record but is winless in conference play at 0-4-0. Kentucky, last year's SEC Tournament champion, has been outscored 9-2 by opponents and is giving up 2.25 goals per game to begin the league slate. The Lady Vols will be looking for revenge after the Wildcats took both matches between the teams last season, including a 2-0 win to knock UT out of the SEC Tournament.
Tennessee will close out its road trip on Sunday afternoon against in-state rival Vanderbilt. The Commodores are 4-5-2 overall and 1-1-1 in conference coming into the week. Vandy holds a 7-5-2 record in the all-time series against UT, but the Orange and White have won three of the last five meetings, including a 2-1 overtime win in Knoxville last year.
The Commodores have played just three matches at home this season, going 1-2-0 at the Vanderbilt Soccer Complex. Vandy will take on Georgia on Friday night before hosting the Lady Vols.
UT and Kentucky are set to kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday night at the UK Soccer Complex with live statistics available at ukathletics.com.
Sunday's match, the SEC Match of the Week, will begin at 2 p.m. CT and will be televised live on FOX Sports Net South and SUN Sports with Bernie Guenther and Jenn Hildreth on the call.