Although I had attended the dedication of the Pat Summitt Plaza and statue on Friday on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville, I had been unable to view it up close until three days later.
I stopped by early Monday afternoon at the corner of Lake Loudoun Boulevard and Phillip Fulmer Way and was the only one there. That was a sharp contrast to the dedication ceremonies, when around 1,000 people were there.
The nearly nine-foot-tall statue is certainly imposing, but Coach Summitt – or Pat as many call her – almost has a friendly manner with her smile. That is likely a little different look from what many of her players received during a practice or game.
The statue was the product of 86-year-old Texas sculptor David Adickes, who said last week, “I want it to look like a successful person…She looks like a winner.”
He also apparently talked UT officials into making it larger than life size.
The small plaza is also nice with its two-tone brick flooring, and part of the plaza wall is designed creatively to look like a basketball rim and net. Kudos to whomever came up with that clever idea. The plaza also has a rounded, basketball-like shape.
The wall also mentions the years Coach Summitt coached, her record, and the eight national championships. However, it could perhaps have included a little more writing, such as her various SEC regular season and tournament championships.
There is also a plaque to the Bill Hilleary family of Spring City, who donated the lead gift for the plaza.
Some may also wonder why the plaza is at an out-of-the-way location on the campus instead of up on a hill somewhere to symbolize her position on the mountain of success.
Of course, it is strategically across from the basketball facilities, so all potential recruits and basketball opponents will see it.
Fans and supporters of UT and Coach Summitt will also see it as well while on their way to a game and will be reminded of her tall legacy.
And no telling how many people will likely have their pictures taken next to her likeness!
To see some photographs of the statue and plaza, click on the arrow on the YouTube slide show accompanying this story.