Summitt becomes NCAA's all-time winningest coach
Editor's note: As the NCAA celebrates its 25th season of women's basketball, ESPN and ESPN.com count down the top 25 moments of NCAA Tournament history. Here, we continue the countdown with memorable NCAA moment No. 11, Pat Summitt's historic No. 880 win to become the all-time winningest NCAA coach, which Beth Mowins was on hand to witness.
On March 22, 2005, women's college basketball reached new heights. With a win over Purdue in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Tennessee coach Pat Summitt became the winningest coach in NCAA Division I history.
The Lady Vols beat the Boilermakers 75-54 to give Summitt win No. 880, pushing her past legendary North Carolina men's coach Dean Smith in the record books.
"Obviously, to be in the company with coach Smith, to think about all the people that were a part of these wins, I never thought I'd live this long," Summitt said.
It was a long way from 1974 when Summitt started coaching at Tennessee at just 22 years old. She was barely older than the players she was coaching. The official stat sheet from her first game shows that 53 people were in the stands at Stokely Athletic Center for a 69-32 win over Middle Tennessee State.
From those humble beginnings, Summitt piled up six national championships, an NCAA-record 16 Final Four appearances and a sparkling 46-0 record in Knoxville in NCAA Tournament play. The home fans never went home disappointed.
That's why so many of them turned out to see Summitt pass Smith.
More than 13,000 fans showed up in Thompson-Boling Arena to witness the historic moment, a night that had been building for three decades of Summitt's coaching career in Knoxville.
Summitt was most happy that her team got a win and the Lady Vols would be advancing to the Sweet 16 for the 24th time in as many NCAA Tournaments.
And the Lady Vols won in typical Tennessee fashion. They held Purdue to 54 points on 33 percent shooting from the floor. The Boilermakers were just 2-for-13 from 3-point range. On the glass, Tennessee hauled down 20 offensive rebounds and won the battle of the boards.
Summitt could not have been more proud. Her team won with defense and rebounding, the very cornerstones of the most successful program in college basketball.
Throughout the week building up to the record-breaking moment, and even after the record was hers, Summitt deflected the credit.
"I appreciate the attention that women's college basketball has received because of this," said Summitt, who helped make history as, for the first time in ESPN's history, all six of its networks went to live coverage of the last few minutes of the historic win.
Afterward, the administration at Tennessee had a special surprise in store. The school unveiled an artist's rendition of what the new floor -- The Summitt -- would look like at Thompson-Boling arena in the future.
Summitt said it was the surprise of a lifetime.
"I had no idea about this it really touches me," she said. "It's a tremendous honor and I never thought about anything like that. I don't think there could be a better gift, the recognition is very touching."
But again, Summitt humbly turned the focus on Tennessee's fans.
"To the fans, you're such a part of this," she said. "We've had a lot of great years here and you've helped build a great tradition and recruit student-athletes from all over the country.
"For those who played here, I really love you and appreciate you. To all my assistant coaches over the years, I wouldn't be where I am today without them telling me what to do. I do listen occasionally. To the administration, they've been awesome, they've given women's basketball a chance to be really special at Tennessee."Click here to see when the next memorable moment will air in our countdown.