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April 1, 2014

Summitt's pedigree prepared him for Tech job

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Louisiana Tech has announced the hiring of Tyler Summitt as its next head women's basketball coach. Summitt, the son of legendary former Tennessee head women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, has spent the last two years as an assistant at Marquette.

At Marquette, Summitt was in charge of the Big East's second ranked scoring offense at 73.3 points per game. He also performed all the recruiting duties for the team and was the scouting coordinator. As the recruiting coordinator, Summitt was able to land 4-star recruit JeTaun Rouse out of Marist High School in Illinois and Canadian 3-star recruit Shantelle Valentine.

At 23-years-old, Summitt is certainly young but that doesn't mean that he isn't experienced. Before spending the past two seasons at Marquette, a job he got all on his own without the assistance of his legendary mother, Summitt spent the 2007-2010 season under his mother as a student assistant and was on her staff during Tennessee's two national championships in 2007 and in 2008. He spent the following two seasons as a walk-on playing for Bruce Pearl and Cuonzo Martin. He has also coached several Knoxville-area AAU teams, including the state champion Tennessee Fury 17U girls.

Before he was hired as an assistant coach at Marquette, Summitt received interest from Roy Williams at North Carolina, Billy Donovan at Florida and Rick Pitino at Louisville. Each head coach wanted Summitt to join his staff as a graduate assistant but Summitt knew he wanted to coach and, after calling nearly 50 women's basketball programs looking for work, he finally got an opportunity from Marquette head coach Terri Mitchell. Mitchell was actually calling to tell him that she wasn't interested in hiring him but after speaking to him on the phone she decided to setup an interview with him and she flew Summitt in for an interview. He got the job.

[RELATED: Summitt staff rumblings]

Summitt is a calculated risk that Louisiana Tech Athletics Director Tommy McClelland and the Tech athletic department are taking. Surely, everyone remembers the concern that was expressed about the age of McClelland, who is just 31, when he was hired but the athletic department was willing to take a chance on McClelland because of the promise that he showed and what he had been able to accomplish in such a short tenure at McNeese.

Enter: Tyler Summitt.

Sure, Summitt is young and relatively green as a coach at any level but certainly at the division one level. However, McClelland obviously saw something in Summitt that warranted consideration and his age was probably an afterthought.

McClelland and Summitt have something very important in common: both men are Christians and will represent the university accordingly. In an interview with Trevor Freeze of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Summitt made it clear why he wanted to coach basketball.

"God gave me a passion to coach at a young age," Summitt said. "I considered coaching (men's basketball). But I've always wanted to coach women."

Summitt uses social media as a way to share Christ and he has attracted over 38,000 Twitter followers.

"I'm very open with it," Summitt said. "I feel God has given me an opportunity to spread my faith through coaching."

Of course, being a good person doesn't make you a good basketball coach but, in this case, it certainly can't hurt. It is my opinion that Tyler Summitt will be successful on and off the court and will represent Louisiana Tech in a positive manner.



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