During the run up to the Final Four several weeks ago, one of the TV networks did a segment on Pat Summit, the coach of the woman’s basketball team at the University of Tennessee. She has the most wins among the coaches in woman’s basketball and her team finally lost in the semi-finals of the Division 1 NCAA championships. She has been called the mother of woman’s basketball having won 800 games with the Lady Vols. Her techniques and coaching have been legendary and her athletes have been exceptional students on and off the court with many earning top scholastic marks.
In the mid-90’s, in an effort to push her woman players to a higher level, she recruited a men’s basketball team to scrimmage with the woman’s varsity. These were not members of the varsity men’s team but rather the top Intramural team on campus. The purpose was to have her women play one on one against opponents who were bigger, stronger and weighed more than women. The results were quite positive and today with few exceptions, every contender in the Division 1 woman’s competition trains with men.
The moral of the story is “sometimes genius is a few steps from the obvious.”