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Meeting Pat Summitt

Here’s that photo of Berkshire author Becky Clark and me, standing in front of the (little) basketball hoop that’s going in the playroom at the Child Advocacy Center. I really should have thrown a basket or two–I would have had a good chance there!

Listening to David Caruso yesterday I was struck by the connection between sports and leadership, and I want to tell you about one comment of Pat Summitt’s which has a lot of relevance for leaders. Pat Summitt is what they called the “winningest” coach in college basketball: she’s won more games than any other coach, men’s or women’s. You can imagine what that takes. Her leadership style, when you watch her on the court, isn’t at all soft, or what you might call empathic or even emotional. She’s fierce. She yells.

Listening to her last week, it was obvious that she feels an immense sense of responsibility for the young women who play for the Lady Vols (players like Becky, by the way, who went deaf while she was on the team). She told us that players sometimes ask her, “Coach, aren’t you ever going to be satisfied?” She tells them, she said, “I see more in you than you see in yourself. That’s why I’m not satisfied.”

That’s one powerful kind of leadership.

2 thoughts on “Meeting Pat Summitt

  1. Give Becky my e-mail address. I coached against her in Memphis, TN.

    She was a great athlete and I always enjoyed watching her play.

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