KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Now it’s Pat Summitt’s turn.
Tennessee men’s coach Bruce Pearl painted himself orange and cheered in the student section for the women’s game against No. 1 Duke on Jan. 22. Pictures and video of Pearl were very popular online and on highlight reels for several days afterward.
Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt said then she was planning a similar gesture for a men’s game, and now her time has come.
Summitt and her staff are planning a special appearance during Tennessee’s game Tuesday night against No. 5 Florida.
Summitt didn’t want to say exactly what she is doing, but she’s dropped hints by mentioning her days as a cheerleader in seventh and eighth grade.
“I might come back and perform with my staff,” she said Monday.
Pearl is in on the secret.
“I know what Pat is doing, but I’m not at liberty to say,” he said. “I think (fans) are going to love it, and I think America is going to see a side of Pat Summitt that they haven’t seen in a long time.”
Summitt, 54, is known for working players hard in practice and her icy stare on the sidelines during games. She’s also the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history — men or women — with 940 victories.
Pearl had promised on a joint radio show with Summitt that he would do his stunt.
Before the Lady Vols game, Pearl stood in front of the student section with four players and a manager to spell out “GO VOLS” on their chests.
Summitt said she was surprised at some of the criticism Pearl got within the coaching ranks.
“You stop and wonder what kind of relationship do they have with their women’s basketball coach?” she said. “Because here there is a mutual respect and friendship. We give and take on facility requests. He comes to our games. I go to his games.”
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