Randy Smith: Holly's Dilemma

Friday, January 18, 2019 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
When Holly Warlick took over as head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team in 2012 it capped a lifelong dream to be the one who replaced the legendary Pat Summitt. The only thing was, the scenario surrounding the hiring of Holly wasn't what anyone expected. Coach Summitt was forced to end her Hall of Fame career early because of early onset alzheimer's; the same disease that would take her life in 2016. It in no way was the ideal situation for Holly. She was forced to enter her first head coaching job while at the same time, watch her long-time friend and former coach die in a way that no one should ever have to experience.

I'm not making excuses at all for Holly Warlick.
She is a big girl and, even though this was her dream job, I believe she knew the kind of pressure that would be facing  her beginning with day one.  She has recruited well, and won a lot of games at Tennessee but she is no longer in the good graces of the fickle Tennessee fan base. As of today, the Lady Vols are in the midst of a three-game SEC losing streak, their first in more than 30 years. Despite getting off to a good start this season, the team has hit a major slump at the midway point and it remains to be seen if Holly can snap her team out of it.

In her defense, things have changed a lot since Coach Summitt's unequaled success. Schools were forced to improve their women's basketball program just to be able to simply stay close to Tennessee. Twenty years ago, there was Tennessee on top and then there was every other women's program in the country. UConn was the first program to challenge the Lady Vols and Coach Gino Auriemma won his second NCAA Championship in 2000. Since then the Lady Huskies have continually climbed the ladder and surpassed Tennessee as the standard bearer for women's basketball. Other schools have now caught up to UConn and parity in the game has become much more prominent.

Tennessee is still historically near the top of women's basketball but it's no longer the way it was. Coach Summitt created the game as we know it and Holly Warlick is now in charge. There will never be another Pat Summitt, we all know that, but I sincerely hope that Holly can turn things around and make the Lady Vols a championship contender again. It's not likely that athletic director Phillip Fulmer will make a coaching change as the university signed her to a three-year contract extension last year. However, knowing Holly as I do, she may decide to step down under pressure rather than watch her program continue to suffer. 

Following a legend is one of the most difficult things to do in sports. Holly has done admirably but her biggest mistake has been the fact that she is not Pat Summitt. When Tennessee fans accept that, things may get a lot better in Knoxville.
* * *

Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com


Prep Scores - Week Of August 11, 2019

Report Your Team’s Scores To The Chattanoogan.com

PREP FOOTBALL Jamboree Schedule: At Finley Stadium SATURDAY, AUGUST 17 3:30 - Howard vs Copper Basin 4:00 - Cleveland vs Red Bank 4:30 - Howard vs Signal Mountain 5:00 - ... (click for more)

Submit your team results HERE Cross Country Football Girls Soccer Golf Volleyball Cross Country Back to Top Football ... (click for more)

Attention all area athletic directors, coaches and statisticians: The Chattanoogan.com now has an email address just for you to report your game and match scores. As our sports staff continues ... (click for more)



PREP FOOTBALL Jamboree Schedule: At Finley Stadium SATURDAY, AUGUST 17 3:30 - Howard vs Copper Basin 4:00 - Cleveland vs Red Bank 4:30 - Howard vs Signal Mountain 5:00 - East Ridge vs Copper Basin 5:30 - Walker Valley vs Red Bank 6:00 - Sale Creek vs Signal Mountain 6:30 - Walker Valley vs McMinn County 7:00 - Brainerd vs McMinn County 7:30 - Brainerd ... (click for more)

Prep Scores - Week Of August 11, 2019

Submit your team results HERE Cross Country Football Girls Soccer Golf Volleyball Cross Country Back to Top Football Back to Top Girls Soccer Back to Top Golf Girls' Golf Sale Creek 79, Soddy Daisy 82 Back to Top Volleyball ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Man, 44, Stabbed To Death On East Main Street

Chattanooga Police said a 44-year-old man died after being stabbed in the 1200 block of East Main Street around midnight Thursday. Upon arrival, officers located a man suffering from a stab wound. Hamilton County EMS responded and transported the victim to a local hospital. Officers secured the scene and called for the Violent Crimes Bureau to respond. Investigators ... (click for more)

Gary Cross, 23, Is 4th Suspect Arrested In Shooting Death Of Tracy Calloway On July 21

On Friday a fourth suspect, Gary Cross, 23, was arrested on outstanding warrants in relation to the July 21, 2019 shooting which occurred in the 4600 block of Trailwood Drive. The victim from that shooting, Tracy Calloway succumbed to injuries sustained from that shooting on July 22. The arrest of Cross is a result of an extensive investigation by the CPD Homicide Unit. ... (click for more)


Good Sports Bar News

Just had dinner Tuesday night at Jonathan's Grille location in Hendersonville, Tn. When in Murfreesboro or Nashville, it's one of my favs. Just a great sports bar concept and menu. So happy to hear the Revelette brothers are bringing their brand (and their pizza night) to the old 212 Market location in downtown Chattanooga. Bring it on! Garry Mac (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

As I stood in the checkout line of the Walmart in Tiftonia this week, my newest friend named Harold asked me, “What’s the difference between an outlaw and an in-law. As I searched my mind, Harold responded, “Outlaws are wanted!” I immediately accepted his joke as a good omen. It helps me to remind readers of The Saturday Funnies, I just collect them during the week and pass them ... (click for more)