The carpool from Georgia to Knoxville for Pat Summitt’s funeral was filled with reflection and reminiscing. Seven former Lady Vols cried and laughed as they shared memories during the drive of their former coach.
Eventually, the conversation turned to race. Six members of the group were among the first Black players to ever play for Summitt at Tennessee.
They talked about how much Summitt helped them grow as players, but more importantly as people. They never felt marginalized, and always felt valued.
“I had no idea I was one of the first until Pat’s funeral 30 years later. I never even thought about it before then,” said Lisa Webb Kimbrough, who played for Summitt from 1983-88. “It means that she got it right. She obviously studied and made sure she knew each player and who they were and coached them accordingly on and off the court. It wasn’t Black or white with Pat.”
As the women’s basketball world marks the four-year anniversary of Summitt’s death from Alzheimer’s disease on Sunday, Summitt’s former players believe her leadership would be valued now more than ever given the current climate of the country.