The Michigan Daily - Sports Tuesday - January 1Q
- Page 3
&y4," 7-etrwe" uioer" s 6askt6allcoad Pat Yzyrnritt
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Luck has little to do
The coach discusses 'M' coach Trish Roberts, her
Own success and the future of women's basketball
Since becoming head women's
basketball coach at the University of
Tennessee, Pat Summitt has epito-
mized the word success. She has
coached her teams to five
Southeastern Conference titles and
11 Final Four appearances, winning
three NCAA championships (1987,
1989, and 1991.) She also guided he
1984 women's Olympic team to a
gold medal in Los Angeles.
In a career in which she also has
won a silver medal in the 1976
Olympics as a player, Summitt has
achieved almost every possible
accolade in the women's game.
Daily Sports Writer Michael
Rosenberg spoke to her recently
about her career and the state of
Daily: Michigan coach Trish
Roberts played for you. Describe
what she was like as a player.
Summitt: Trish was certainly
one of the greatest players I ever
coached. She had great ball-handling
skills, great instincts. She knew the
game. I think she was a little bit
ahead of her time. I think if Trish
Roberts were playing today, we'd be
reading about her and she would be
an all-American. I think she was hurt
by the fact that the women's game
was not as well-known then as it is
.oday. It was not as well-publicized.
D: Do you think that that's im-
proved greatly over the last fifteen
years, or do you think the publicity
is still progressing too slowly?
S: I think it's improved a lot. I
think that the television coverage has
helped tremendously. I think we still
have a ways to go. We don't have
the history of the men's game, so it's
going to take some time, but I think
we're moving in the right direction.
D: One of the greatest differences
between women's basketball and
men's basketball is that in the wom-
en's game, there are a few programs
- Tennessee, Louisiana Tech,
Stanford, Virginia - that tend to
dominate, whereas in the men's
game there seems to be a lot more
parity. Do you think that that gap in
the women's game between the best
and the rest is closing?
S: I don't really think that the gap
is too big. I think that there are a lot
of good teams. I think the difference
between the men and the women is
in the Final Four. There are a num-
ber of men's teams which can make
the Final Four, but not as *many
women's teams. The Final Four is
where the publicity comes in, and
because a few teams tend to make it
there a lot, it seems as though there
is a huge gap. But still, if you look at
Duke or Indiana in the men's game,'
they are at the top year after year. I
think real good programs stay that
D: Do you think that having that
one great player means more for the
women than it does for the men?
S: Definitely. I think that having
that one great player can make a
team good, and it can make a good
team great. I think that one great
player can win you a lot of games.
D: Do you think that women's
coaches are still not respected by
community. I think that we can
hopefully get to the point where we
are near where the men's game is
now in terms of publicity and rev-
D: Don't you think that that's a
bit of a catch-22, in that if you don't
produce the revenue, you won't get
the publicity, but until you get the
publicity, you can't generate the
S: That's'exactly what it is. What
we have to do is show that we are
deserving of the publicity, show that
we can generate the revenue. As I
say, I think that hopefully we can get
to the point where we're like the
men's game, which generates its
own revenue and its own publicity.
D: Men's athletic directors and
basketball coaches are almost all
men. But women's athletic directors
and coaches are often men. Do you
think that there is sexism involved in
the selection process?
S: No, I really don't think so. I
think that the schools hire whoever
'Trish was certainly one of the greatest
players I ever coached. She had great ball-
handling skills, great instincts. She knew the
game. I think if Trish Roberts were playing
today, we'd be reading about her and she
would be an all-American.'
and I'm proud of what we have ac-
D: What do you think of the Big
Ten's new rule that 40% of all ath-
letic expenditures must go towards
S: I think it's excellent. It shows
that women are getting more and
more respect as far as sports are
D: Do you think other confer-
ences will follow the Big Ten's
S: I certainly hope so. You can't
expect things to happen overnight.
We have to take things one step at a
time. The Big Ten's rule was a big
step. If other conferences adopt the
rule it will be another big step.
D: Where do you see the wom-
en's game in 20 years?
S: Hopefully, we'll be at the
point where the men are now. I think
that women's basketball in 20 years
will be on television a lot more. Now
we only have one or two games a
month. But I can turn on the televi-
sion almost every night and find a
men's game. I think we'll be on TV
more in the future.
D: Do you think there will ever
be a successful women's pro league
in the U.S.?
S: No. I don't think that's neces-
sary. When I recruit players, I do it
with their interests in mind. I want
them to get an education and go on
to something else. I don't think we
really need a pro league.
D: Do you think that the wom-
en's game is as plagued by NCAA
violations as the men's game?
S: If it is, I am not aware of it. I
think that most coaches, and cer-
tainly the top ones, run clean pro-
D: Do you think that as the wom-
en's game gets more popular, we'll
have more cheating going on?
S: I certainly hope not. I think
that the thing we have to look at,
more than the cheating, is the nega-
tive recruiting that's going on. I
think that some coaches revcruit
against other schools instead of for
Monty Williams, a young man playing basketball despite a heart
problem, crumpled to the court Saturday afternoon, midway through the
second half of Michigan's 70-55 victory over Notre Dame.
He lay there for several minutes - moving little, saying even less -
surrounded by a trio of team trainers and physicians who were asking
him a slew of questions to which he had one simple answer.
"I just turned my ankle again," he said.
A sprained ankle, the most common of sports injuries, it turned out,
was what felled Williams, Notre Dame's only saving grace in a dismal
season. Williams was helped off the floor and up the tunnel into the
A severe sprain. That still was the prognosis after Skip Meyer, an
assistant trainer, poked Williams' tender right ankle as he sat on a table
in the corner of the lockerroom, scowling and fiddling with the buttons
on his white shirt. Williams' teammates filed by him as they each got
dressed and loaded up their gear for the trip back to South Bend. None of
them stopped to say anything. No one asked Williams if he was alright.
A quick glance, maybe, at Williams was all. That was all.
A severe sprain, for Monty Williams and for those closest to him, is a
blessing and a setback all at once. When he fell to the hardwood amid a
swarm of opposing players under the basket Saturday, it was hard to
fend off flashbacks to Hank Gathers' last game. Gathers, a star at Loyola
Marymount a few years ago, had a heart problem. He tried to play
anyway. And he died, in the middle of a game late in the season in 1990.
A severe sprain? Thank God it was nothing more than that, right?
"It hurts where it's supposed to hurt, Monty," the trainer told
Williams as he wrapped the ankle. "You'll be all right."
Two years ago, Monty Williams never could have imagined hearing
those words. After a fabulous freshman season, Williams was told his
career was over.
Doctors had detected an abnormal sound in his heart during a routine
team physical on Sept. 4, 1990. He was diagnosed with hypertrophic
cardiomyopathy (HCM), a thickened septum wall in the middle chamber
of his heart. It is a condition that affects 1 in 2,000 Americans, and is a
leading cause of "sudden death" among young people. Williams was that
one, and basketball suddenly became a memory.
"I was really angry," said Williams, who had led his Potomac (Md.)
High School team to a Class AAA state title and was a McDonald's All-
American back in 1989. "I couldn't believe it was happening to me."
But it was, and he was left to pick up the pieces. Williams decided
the team would be better off without him hanging around, so he made a
complete break. He continued to play basketball every day, against
doctor's orders, playing pick-up games 2-3 hours a day.
That went on for two years until last September, when doctors at the
National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Md., decided that Williams,
since he had no symptoms and no family history of sudden death, could
resume playing college basketball. He went through two days of
extensive and grueling tests to be sure.
And Saturday he stood, albeit on crutches, as captain of the Notre
Dame basketball team and, as a 6-foot-8 senior, an NBA prospect. He
leads the Irish in scoring (18.7 ppg) and rebounding (10.7 rpg).
"It's really frustrating," Williams said, sounding nothing - and
everything, really - like a person who has come as far as he has. "It was
just one of those off days. Everybody has them."
Williams, who was a 4.0 student in high school, talked quietly after
the game. He verbally chastised himself for not being ready to play.
"Injuries are a result of improper preparation," Williams said.
"There's no excuse for that. You don't sprain the same ankle twice if
you're prepared. I just wasn't physically ready to play today."
Too hard on himself? For Monty Williams to get to where he is now
it took a lot of self-imposed agony and criticism. He was very hard on
himself, every day. Why quit now?
"I feel like I let the team down," he said. "I'm sort of like their
blanket - they look to me to make sure everything is all right."
Which is why it was so hard for the Notre Dame players to look at
Williams after the game in the lockerroom. It's why they all grabbed
their duffel bags and a can or two of fruit juice before they walked,
heads down, past their fallen leader.
Williams was one of the last to leave Saturday. A student manager
grabbed his bag for him, and Williams headed up the ramp to the team
bus. The team chaplain, who travels with the team to each game, walked
past him and patted him on the shoulder.
"You'll be all right," the chaplain said, reiterating what he had heard
in the lockerroom.
Williams nodded. He will be all right.
men's coaches, athletic directors,
and university presidents and that, as
a result, women's programs do not
get enough money or publicity?
S: I think that we don't produce
the revenue like the men's programs
do, and so we don't recieve the
money that the men do. I think that
as we continue to improve in that
area and start producing revenue, the
other things will follow. I think that
the men's game right now is like a
big business, and that we are like a
small business. We're still trying to
gain more acceptance in our own
they feel is the best candidate for the
job. The problem is that there aren't
many women who have the experi-
ence of the men, and because there
are so many coaches out there, I
think that the men, who are
generally more experienced, get
hired. I think that will change as our
D: Would you ever consider
coaching a men's team?
S: I doubt it. I would listen to any
offer that I received, but in the end. I
think I would stay at Tennessee. I'm
very happy where I am right now,
Continued from page 1
lead was short-lived as Stanford
placed first and third in the next
event taking the lead for good.
The divers made a tremendous
impact at the meet. Tri-captain Eric
Namesnik thought the divers kept
'the team in it.
"The team needs to do a better
job," Namesnik said. "The divers
in the 200-yard breaststroke. While
in his first collegiate meet, Marcel
Wouda captured the 500 freestyle.
"The win was in reach,"
Namesnik said. "It was not a differ-
ence in depth, but they were able to
do a better job, in the end, reaching
the wall. They were able to race
The stars for Stanford were
Hudepohl and Derek Weatherford.
Hudepohl won the 200-yard
freestyle in pool record time
(1:36.86) just missing the NCAA
qualifying time of 1:36.77 and an-
chored both the winning 400
freestyle and 400-yard medley relay
teams. Weatherford just edged out
Marcel Wouda in the 200-yard indi-
vidual medley for the win and set a
pool record (1:45.88) in his 200-yard
Namesnik believed that Stanford
proved that it was the best team at
this time. On the other hand, he is
also confident that the Wolverines
will give the Cardinal a run for the
NCAA title if the Wolverine swim-
mers can believe in themselves.
"Team wise, they are probably
the best," Namesnik said. "They
want to be number one and they
showed us they are the team to beat.
We have to keep that in mind in or-
der to get to our goal (the national
"We are supposedly the second
best team. We have to approach
meets in that way. We need to pre-
sent ourselves as one of the best. I
don't know if we showed that (this
After the disappointing loss to
Stanford, the Wolverines headed
south to take on No. 6 California
Saturday at Spieker Aquatics
Complex. The Wolverines were able
to rebound from the close loss to
beat the Golden Bears 133-110.
"We did a little better at Cal,"
Gunn said. "I felt I was racing better.
I was more into the racing mode.
The team also swam better. We
shook off the jitters of swimming
Stanford. We did better in the IM
and breaststroke at Cal."
The wins were easier to come by
at Berkley. Borges once again won
the 50 and 100 freestyle events.
Wunderlich took the 200 breast-
stroke, Namesnik won the 200 IM,
and Wouda swam to victory in the
The divers also continued their
success sweeping both the one- and
three-meter events. Lesser was
pleased with the results.
"The weekend went well," Lesser
said. "It felt good despite the rain
and temperature. We definitely have
a strong team."
Overall, the Wolverines still have
some things to work on before the
Big Ten and NCAA Championships
in March. Gunn thinks the key to fu-
ture success will come down to an
improvement in the overall speed of
"We need a lot of speed," Gunn
said. "Our short events need to be
faster. We have to get our relays into
shape because they're worth double
points. Our 100 strokes have to get
going. We were definitely lacking in
the speed category."
helped out a lot. It wouldn't have
'been as close without their perfor-
The Wolverines had some strong
individual races, but the Cardinal
was able to pull off the better team
performance. Michigan sprint
freestyler Gustavo Borges took both
the 50- and the 100-yard freestyle
events. Other Wolverines with indi-
vidual wins were Namesnik in the
1000 freestyle and Eric Wunderlich
m m L I.