Tenn. Coach Approaches Historic Victory

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt
Tennessee coach Pat Summitt yells from the bench during an NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi on Jan. 29, 2009.

Her name is Summitt, and she's at the top of her game. But Pat Summitt is aiming for new heights. CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann reports the winningest coach in NCAA Division I basketball, men's or women's, is going for number 1,000.

No one's ever won more Division I college basketball games than Pat Summitt. No one.

"She hates more than anything to lose," one of her players says.

At the University of Tennessee, Summitt's career victory total is an NCAA record, built with relentless intensity.

"I think of a thousand as all of the student-athletes that wore the orange and committed to winning," Summitt says.

Update: Shortly after this report aired on the CBS Evening News, Pat Summit claimed her 1,000th career victory as her Lady Vols beat Georgia 73-43.
She learned basketball on a dairy farm and played for the 1976 U.S. Olympic team. She was a graduate assistant at Tennessee when the women's coach quit. The job was hers - at 22.

"Really didn't know what I was doing," Summitt says. "I just tried to get through it."

In 35 years, her Lady Vols have won eight national championships.

And every one of her four-year players - 111 student-athletes - has graduated.

"She's got this Lady Vol thing, this family atmosphere, this history and tradition and the way they represent - and they buy in," says Tennessee's Men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl.

All his life, Summitt's son Tyler has lived it.

"There's no way around her," he says. "She's got it all figured out."

With Summit's program, excellence is the expectation, Strassmann reports. Fail to measure up, and Lady Vol players will get what's known in the locker room as, "The Look."

Tyler Summitt knows the look too.

"You just want to look straight back until it's over," he says. "Just pray that it ends."

When Pat Summit stares, even sports history blinks first.
By Mark Strassmann

  • Mark Strassmann
    Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001 and is based in the Atlanta bureau.