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82-year-old mother of Vols' Summitt makes trip

Hazel Head, who doesn’t travel as often now, watches daughter Pat Summitt.

CARRIE PRATT | Times

Hazel Head, who doesn’t travel as often now, watches daughter Pat Summitt.

TAMPA — An entourage of ushers and security surrounded Hazel Head's wheelchair to help guide her to her seat.

She was helped up, then she shuffled to her seat four rows from the court. From there, the 82-year-old mother of Pat Summitt could look over the heads of the media directly across to see Pat coach Tennessee to a semifinal victory Sunday against LSU.

Vols fans stood around Head during the tipoff. She sat and calmly peered through her glasses whispering periodically to family members around her.

"I watch the scores more than the defense," Head said. "Tonight, (Tennessee) has really done a good job."

Head traveled to Tampa with the team Thursday. Summitt's parents were fixtures at Vols games for years until health problems forced them to miss more than they would have liked. Summitt's father, Richard Head, died in 2005.

Pearl Attire: Tennessee men's coach Bruce Pearl sat a few rows behind Head. No, Pearl was not wearing body paint, and he wasn't cheering like a college freshman. Actually, he was pretty subdued, wearing an orange shirt, khaki pants and sandals.

"We're in Florida, right?" Pearl said. "Don't I look like I'm in Florida? I'm a chameleon."

Pearl has become a fan favorite thanks to his enthusiasm and choice of clothing. He might be best known for wearing a bright orange sport coat during some games. He also showed up at one of Summitt's games in 2007 and stood in the student section with a "V" painted on his chest to help spell out "V-O-L-S."

"I can't get my guys to the Final Four, the least I can do is support her," Pearl said.

Candice vs. Candace: Vols star Candace Parker said she was motivated after losing out on the Wade Trophy to Stanford star Candice Wiggins, who was recognized Saturday as the national player of the year. Now they'll showcase their skills on the same court.

Wiggins helped the Cardinal to an 82-73 upset of No. 1 seed UConn. Her game-high 25 points and 13 rebounds strengthens the argument that she deserved the award.

Parker, who has been hobbled with a shoulder injury, made 6-of-27 shots. She still finished with a team-high 13 points and 15 rebounds in a 47-46 last-second win against LSU.

Out of synch: Officials confirmed there was a clock malfunction in the first game and will work today to fix the problem. There were no clock problems when the men's tournament was here two weeks ago.

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report. Izzy Gould can be reached at izzygould@gmail.com or (727) 580-5315.

82-year-old mother of Vols' Summitt makes trip 04/06/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 7, 2008 12:39am]
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