You all should know by now, I am a huge Tennessee Lady Vols fan. I haven’t posted much about them since coach passed away. 2016 was a tough year for me. I lost the two most important women in my life that year – Pat Summitt in June and my mother in December. I met Pat Summitt only once in my life, but she impacted me greatly. I can only imagine having her as a coach, mentor, boss and close friend like Holly Warlick did.
Well, this past week, Tennessee women lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in history. As a result of the unsuccessful seasons under her belt, and pressure from unhappy fans and alum, she was fired as head coach.
Whether justified or not (That’s not for me to determine), what was NOT justified was all of the hate and nastiness that is circulating throughout social media attacking Holly and her character. I would like to give those people who feel the need to bash this woman, who has been nothing but loyal to the Lady Vols, a different perspective. Bear with me because this is how I see things…
Imagine being in one place from the time you were a teenager. You have given everything to this place. You lost your mentor, who happens to be the best at the job that you are now asked to step in and try to do. You step up to the challenge, despite being consumed with grief. A grief that takes forever to heal because everything around you reminds you of the person you lost. On top of that, you have the added bonus of pressure
from fans, family and admin to live up to their expectations.
You do the best you can at making the program your own, while still honoring the legend who came before you, and still can’t satisfy people. After failing in the position, you are publicly insulted by a member of your team and you are cast out of the only home you know.
I ask, would you be quick to talk about how devastated and disappointed you are? Would you know where to go or what to do next? Please leave that woman alone. Allow her time to finally grieve and attempt to heal. Have some empathy in this situation. NONE of us could do any better. Whoever came behind Pat Head Summitt was in a no win situation. The program was still reeling from her diagnosis and subsequent death. Despite being at her side and learning from the icon, there was only 1 Pat. There will NEVER be another. She was the blueprint. However, fans expected Holly to step right in and be Pat2.0. So unfair, but such is life.
So, now that exactly what should have happened has come to fruition, Holly is being chastised and raked over the coals. In my opinion, Holly deserves better than this. She has lived and breathed Orange all of her adult life. She should be embraced and loved like Pat would have wanted us, The Big Orange Nation, to do. Remember, once a Lady Vol, ALWAYS a Lady Vol. #LV4L
NOTE: After publication, I was informed by Mary McBride Artello-Kneidel that Tennessee lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament once under Pat Summitt, so this would be the second time in school history. Thanks for the fact check.🤗