The Pat Summitt era is over at Tennessee.
After talking to former Tennessee head football coach Lane Kiffin in attempt to make him reconsider staying in Knoxville, Summitt says Kiffin convinced her to leave the program she has led for 37 years and follow him to the sun and fun of Los Angeles and USC.
"Sorry, Tennessee," Summitt said.
With eight national championships during her tenure, Summitt said Kiffin made the point that there's not much more she can accomplish in Knoxville and that she could use a new challenge.
"I want to take women's basketball to another level," said Summitt. "And Lane made me realize I can only do that in a major media market like Los Angeles."
With Summitt's rival, Geno Auriemma, entrenched at UConn, Summitt says she can now stake a claim to the recruits in the entire western half of the country, as well as continue to exert her influence in the Southeast.
"It's really a no-brainer," said Summitt. "Lane finally made me open my eyes and see reality. There's no reason for anyone to coach at Tennessee no offense to all the great people here at Tennessee."
Kiffin is glad Summitt heard him out.
"Hey, she's not getting any younger," said Kiffin of Summitt, age 57. "She'd feel a lot better out in L.A. No winters. And she's fresh off her divorce, too. She can play the field out there. Date an actor or something."
The news of Summitt's departure at Tennessee has eclipsed the outrage over Kiffin. But University of Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton urges calm.
"Everybody needs to relax," said Hamilton. "This is our women's basketball coach. You know it, I know it, everybody knows it: the only reason we follow women's basketball here is because we're good at it. It's not like we actually like it. I mean, who could? It's awful. With Pat gone, we can focus on the good sports again. Lane Kiffin did us a favor."