We’ll soon find out, won’t we? If Horston stays, then the answer is probably “Yes.” I’m anxious for her to get started. What a great joy it must be for her to finally get to come home to Tennessee. The story is already a sweet one, and will only get sweeter if at the end of next season we are celebrating the program having made great strides toward getting its mojo back.
People seem to forget that this is a big gamble for Kellie, too.
She's leaving behind a team she loved and had recruited in her mold. A team and fan base who loved and embraced her and her family. A program on the cusp of being a conference power for years to come and a perennial NCAA invitee. A place where her children were born. A chance to leave a legacy similar to Cheryl Burnett at the university.
That's a lot to give up, even for triple her current salary (or whatever offer is on the table). It's a career move, but one to the place that holds a special place in her heart. And she knows that she will be under intense scrutiny even before the contract is signed and that she'll have to win over both players and fans...some whom are very disappiinted and/or angry right now.
Above all, she's putting both her coaching future and her Lady Vol reputation on the line. She's still young, and this will make or break her resume. Either she will be the successful long-term Tennessee coach or she'll be lucky to get anything half as good as the situation she just left.
That takes a lot of guts and confidence. Fortunately, it would appear that other Lady Vols had confidence in her just as her peers do. And like her Mo State fans had in her when defending her abilities to teach, develop, and motivate even while knowing that their support just increased the interest in her from Tennessee.
Pat's gone. Kellie isn't and can't be Pat no matter the amount of links and external resemblances. But would it be such a bad thing to restore the program with the same commitment to excellence both on and off the court that Pat demanded? We can be reminded of continuing the overall impact of Pat's foundation even while adopting new methods such as a movement-based half-court offense that is both exciting and efficient and increased utilization of outside shooting. A philosophy that emphasizes hard-nosed pressure defense and rebounding but spends equal time developing an offense that is both fun to watch and to play.
We don't have to totally break from the past to build a different future that stays true to LV cultural traditions...the Lady Vol way. Williams at NC and Saban at ALA didn't reinvent the wheel. And Fulmer understands the importance of establishing and maintaining winning traditions of accountability and hard, shared work.