Jon Gruden: Pat Summitt made 'real impression on me' with Vols
Tuesday's news of the death of legendary Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt at age 64 reached far beyond the sport her Vols teams dominated, and her loss was mourned by coaches in other sports, like former Bucs coach Jon Gruden.
Gruden was in his first college coaching job, arriving at Tennessee for two years as a graduate assistant in 1986-87, which coincided with two Final Fours and Summitt's first national championship in 1987. Thirty years later, he remembered the impression she left on him and other football coaches who saw the start of the tremendous sustained success she would find in Knoxville.
"Johnny Majors told us GAs: 'Look, if you're not the best teacher on campus, I don't want you on our staff," Gruden said Tuesday. "Then he'd say, 'If you want to see the best teacher on campus, just go across the street.' When I first got there, I didn't know who he was talking about. It was Pat Summitt.
"So we went and watched the Lady Vols at practice. Now I was once a ballboy for Bobby Knight at Indiana. I thought Bobby Knight was in a class by himself. But when you talk about a person, a teacher that had that kind of knowledge, respect, enthusiasm and fire, that was Pat Summitt. Women's basketball is where it is today because of her and what she accomplished with that program. She made a real impression on me and certainly so many others. My prayers are with her family today."