Pat Summitt, legendary former coach of Lady Vols, dies at 64


Pat Summitt, who won eight national championships as head coach of the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team and had more wins than any NCAA college basketball coach in history when she was forced to retire at age 59 because of a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, died June 28 at a senior living home in Knoxville. She was 64.

She died of complications from the disease, said family spokeswoman Erin Freeman.

Ms. Summitt unexpectedly became coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols when she was 22 and, over a 38-year career, formed a dynasty seldom matched in any college sport. She was the first college basketball coach, male or female, to reach 1,000 victories in a career.

My obituary of Summitt ran A1 in The Washington Post on June 29, and was syndicated nationally.


Courses turn to footgolf to raise revenue

My A1 feature about footgolf, a new sport designed to bring younger players and more revenue to golf courses, was picked up by the A.P. Here’s the story (with great photo from Ernst Peters):

ZACK SHRIVER KICKS A BALL off the tee box while playing footgolf at the largo golf course on Wednesday. the sport, which is akin to golf but played with soccer balls, has brought in a new demographic and more revenue. (Ernst Peters)

ZACK SHRIVER KICKS A BALL off the tee box while playing footgolf at the largo golf course on Wednesday. the sport, which is akin to golf but played with soccer balls, has brought in a new demographic and more revenue. (Ernst Peters/The Ledger)

WINTER HAVEN | Zack Shriver looked out of place.

In a land of bland polos and tan khakis, the 21-year-old sported a red, white and blue jersey and a tattoo sleeve.

He jogged up to his tee in shorts. The noon sun glinted off the grass at Largo Golf Course, but it looked dim compared with Shriver’s neon cleats.

A Budweiser perspired in his right hand as he readied for his first shot. Shriver stepped back, placed the beer on the ground, and then:


A beauty.

He kicked his ball straight down the fairway.

Shriver and his two buddies, Hunter Maricle and Danny George, are soccer players. Shriver plays for Louisberg College in North Carolina, George plays at Florida Gulf Coast University, and Maricle played the last three seasons at Virginia Tech.

The three headed out to the Largo course at about noon Wednesday, at a time when the course would have been empty, said Jason Wilson, the course’s golf supervisor. The three brought their own soccer balls.

In October, Largo began offering a new sport, footgolf, at its city golf course. Footgolf has brought in a new demographic as well as a new revenue stream.

The sport is coming to Polk County and Winter Haven’s Willowbrook Golf Course in August.

“Right now we are the only course in Tampa Bay offering this, but soon we won’t be,” Wilson said. “And that’s almost a good thing, to help the sport grow.”

When asked if he was sure other courses were going to begin offering the sport soon, he said he didn’t have any proof but had a hunch.

“It would be foolish not to,” he said.

The rest of this article can be found here as it appeared on page A1 of The Ledger.

Spartans Battle Grand Canyon, Time Change

Andruw Jones is batting .400 this season. | Samantha Battersby/ The Minaret

An eleven-inning win that stretched deep into Saturday night ended, daylight savings time stole an hour, and before they knew it, Sunday morning was upon them.

The NCAA top-ranked University of Tampa baseball team won two games in just over 14 hours last weekend, separated by a few precious winks of sleep. UT Head Coach Joe Urso was frank about the challenge.

“It was a tough turnaround,” he said. “The alarm went off real quick.”

The Spartans took two of three from the Grand Canyon Lopes, losing the opener of the series 3-1 on Friday before sweeping the final two.

Saturday night was the kind of evening that can build a team’s momentum heading into conference play.

Tampa starter Sean Bierman threw six innings while walking just one and striking out six. The Spartan defense though, wasn’t as prepared as he was. They committed six errors in the game leading to three unearned runs, all charged to Bierman’s line.

Tied 6-6 through nine, the game went into extras. In the top of the eleventh, Grand Canyon managed a pair of runs off Mike Adams sending the middle of Tampa’s order up in the bottom of the inning with the task of crossing a pair of runs; they found themselves more than up to the challenge.

Jake Schrader hit a tying two-run double after a walk and a hit batter, and Adam Pendleton knocked a single into rightfield to help the Spartans walk-off.

“It showed a lot of character on our part,” said outfielder Andruw Jones, who scored the winning run. “But if we play a better game, don’t make as many errors, we should never even be there.”

The rest of this article can be read here as originally published in The Minaret.