BATON ROUGE - LSU women's basketball head coach Nikki Caldwell, who played and coached under legendary Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt, issued the following statement on Wednesday afternoon after the announcement of Summitt stepping down as head coach after 38 seasons:
"Coach Summitt is the reason I am a coach and why I am here (at LSU) today. She gave me an opportunity to go into coaching as a graduate assistant in 1998. More importantly, she has always been there for me since I was 18 years old. She's my mentor, my friend and a part of my family and that will last forever. She has been a pioneer in opening doors for women in so many areas. Those who have played or coached for Coach Summitt always take a part of her with us wherever we go in our respective jobs. I've taken her with me in teaching young ladies to be the very best they can be. Her influence on this game, the University of Tennessee and the Southeastern Conference will always be impactful. That will continue in any role she plays."
Caldwell also released the following statement on associate head coach Holly Warlick being named Tennessee head coach:
"Holly (Warlick) is so deserving of this and she is going to do an unbelievable job. She is someone who shares the same resume, if you will, as Coach Summitt because she has been there for every practice, every workout and every championship. She has carried the responsibilities of a head coach. I've known Holly for a long time and she bleeds orange and white. She is going to be a tremendous leader as head coach of the Lady Vols."