Honoring the Heroes of the Game and Celebrating Excellence Everywhere is a mission that the Pro Football Hall of Fame doesn’t take lightly. The news of the passing of legendary head coach Pat Summitt has struck a high cord throughout the sports community on Tuesday. Summit, who was the architect that built the University of Tennessee’s Lady Volunteers into a powerhouse, became the winningest coach in the history of major college basketball.
For Gold Jacket Anthony Muñoz and his family, the death of coach Summitt hit close to home. Muñoz’s daughter Michelle played for the legendary coach and his son Michael was an All-American tackle with the Vols during the Summitt era.
Summit could tell Michelle was a gifted athlete early on. The former head coach had her eyes peeled on the 6-1 forward while Michelle attended junior high and high school. Michelle participated in Summitt’s summer basketball camps, which turned out to be a unique invitation to become a Lady Vols.
“It was kind of a gift of a recruiting process because Michelle from the ages nine and ten was a big Tennessee fan when she started playing basketball,” said Anthony. “Pat asked Michelle to come into her office after camp during her sophomore year of high school and said, ‘we can’t official offer you anything but after your senior year in high school we would love for you to be a Volunteer.’ On the four-hour drive home, we talked as a family and Michelle decide that she wanted to verbally commit to the University of Tennessee.”
Even though Michelle only played one season for the Lady Vols, her dad has memories that will last a lifetime.
“It was fun being a part of the Volunteer’s Family for that one year that Michelle played,” said the Hall of Fame offensive lineman. “We had a chance to go and watch her in the Final Four in San Antonio. They had a success year even though they didn’t win but playing at the highest level and to see how Pat coached and interacted with the kids was pretty impressive and a great experience as a family.”
For Michael, it was a clear as to why he was going to attend the University of Tennessee and follow in his sister’s footsteps.
“Pat Summit is one of the top three reason as to why I went to Tennessee,” said Michael. “She recruited my sister as a sophomore in high school, that was kind of an in home recruiter for me and that’s a big reason why I ended up going to the University of Tennessee.”
Even though Michael Munoz was a part of the football team, he and the rest of the student body felt the presences of Coach Summitt throughout the university.
“Coach Pat Summit stood for excellence,” said Michael. “The hard work that she demanded out of her players day in and out was something that everybody looked to as the bench mark for success across the athletic departments. I know that all of the girls and even guys across the athletic department looked to her as a figure of success.”
Summitt won eight national titles, the most by any Division 1 basketball coach (men or women) during her 38-year tenure at Tennessee. Also, her teams racked up 31 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
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“This is definitely a tragic passing and our thoughts and prayers go out to her family,” added Michael.