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Summitt to go 'a lot out of character' for men's game

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Now it's Pat Summitt's turn.

Tennessee men's coach Bruce Pearl painted himself orange and
cheered in the student section for the women's game against No. 1
Duke on Jan. 22. Pictures and video of Pearl were very popular
online and on highlight reels for several days afterward.

Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt said then she was planning a similar
gesture for a men's game, and now her time has come.

Summitt and her staff are planning a special appearance during
Tennessee's game Tuesday night against Florida (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today; No. 5 AP).

Summitt didn't want to say exactly what she is doing, but she's
dropped hints by mentioning her days as a cheerleader in seventh
and eighth grade.

"I might come back and perform with my staff," she said
Monday.

Pearl is in on the secret.

"I know what Pat is doing, but I'm not at liberty to say," he
said. "I think [fans] are going to love it, and I think America is
going to see a side of Pat Summitt that they haven't seen in a long
time."

Summitt noted the appearance will be "a little out of
character, a lot out of character actually."

Summitt, 54, is known for working players hard in practice and
her icy stare on the sidelines during games. She's also the
winningest coach in NCAA basketball history -- men or women -- with
940 victories.

"I think people see me as being really serious, and I've just
always been a kind of person that likes to have fun and do things
like I'm going to do tomorrow night. But I usually don't do it on
camera in front of the whole country," she said. "I figured, why
not?"

Pearl had promised on a joint radio show with Summitt that he
would do his stunt.

Before the Lady Vols game, Pearl stood in front of the student
section with four players and a manager to spell out "GO VOLS" on
their chests.

"It's all for Bruce. The fact that he and his guys painted
their chests. He made that statement and generated a lot of
excitement to the community and obviously brought a lot of exposure
to the university and I respect Bruce," Summitt said. "From the
time he's been here, he's been nothing but supportive of the
women's program."

Summitt said she was surprised at some of the criticism Pearl
got within the coaching ranks.

"You stop and wonder what kind of relationship do they have
with their women's basketball coach?" she said. "Because here
there is a mutual respect and friendship. We give and take on
facility requests. He comes to our games. I go to his games."