KNOXVILLE - Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said last month the athletic department intended to build a statue of former women's basketball coach Pat Summitt in the near future.
The plan to honor the legendary coach now is officially in motion.
Tennessee released the initial plans to construct a Pat Summitt Plaza, which will feature a bronze statue, at the corner of Lake Loudon Boulevard and Philip Fulmer Way near the southwest corner of Thompson-Boling Arena.
"That will be in perpetuity a recognition of what she meant to this university, what she meant to the sport of basketball and what she meant to women's athletics," Hart said at the Big Orange Caravan stop in Chattanooga last month. "You can't really adequately put that into words. I think the University of Tennessee has been extremely appreciative and done all that is humanly possible to express that appreciation for many, many years.
"Everyone at Tennessee understands what Pat Summitt has meant to this university."
Tennessee will raise money for the project through private donations.
Summitt won 1,098 games, 32 combined SEC regular season and tournament titles and eight national championships in 38 seasons as the Lady Volunteers' coach. She coached her final season just months after announcing her diagnosis of early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type, in August 2011. This season will be her second year as head coach emeritus, a role that keeps her around the program now run by long-time assistant coach Holly Warlick. "This is a well-deserved honor for my coach, mentor and friend," Warlick said in Tennessee's release. "She will always be a legend for Tennesseans and others throughout the country."
An artist's rendition for the plaza and the statue can be found at www.patsummittplaza.com.
Maryland receiver/linebacker Jerome Dews became the Vols' 17th verbal commitment for the 2014 class on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Potomac High School athlete had just one offer from a Bowl Subdivision program (Temple), but Dews earned a scholarship offer from Tennessee with his performance at the Vols' camp earlier this month. "For them to be an SEC school and take that chance on me with me having no other big offers shows they're nothing but real people," Dews told the Washington Post on Tuesday. "They don't care about publicity and all that stuff, the politics. They like me, and they don't care about none of that other stuff."
Dews is rated as a two-star prospect according to 247sports.com, and he's unranked by Rivals.com.
"He was the big surprise of the camp," Potomac coach Ronnie Crump told the Post. "There were some heavy hitters there, too. ... Basically, they told me his upside is just too great not to offer."
There remains the possibility Dews could grayshirt, which would delay his arrival to Tennessee, depending on how the Vols fill the remaining 12 or 13 spots in the 2014 class.
The Vols have two current linebackers commitments in junior-college prospect Chris Weatherd and Alabama's Gavin Bryant, a duo rated as four-star players according to 247sports.com. Florida four-star Dillon Bates, the son of former Tennessee and Dallas Cowboys safety Bill, could pick the Vols next week when he's scheduled to announce at "The Opening," a Nike showcase camp in Oregon. Tennessee also sits in good position with Norcross (Ga.) four-star Kevin Mouhon.
Five-star point guard prospect Jaquan Lyle verbally committed to Louisville on Wednesday, less than two weeks after the Evansville, Ind., product, who was at Tennessee's elite camp this past weekend, named a final four that included Florida, Indiana and the Vols.
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