In 1987, Pat Summitt coached the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team to the first of what would be eight national championships for the school. Frances Hogan, the associate athletic director for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote a note of congratulations to Coach Summitt. Summitt responded thanking Hogan for her demonstration of support and also taking the opportunity to congratulate UNC for its decision to hire Sylvia Rhyne Hatchell as the head coach of the women’s basketball team. Coach Hatchell had just completed her first season at UNC, and Summitt predicted Hatchell would be successful.
And she was correct, as Hatchell has become one of the winningest coaches in women’s basketball history, being one of only four head coaches in Division I history to win 800 games, and earning coach of the year honors in 1994 and 2006. Since coming to UNC in 1986, Hatchell has led the women’s basketball team to a national championship in 1994, eight ACC titles, and six 30-win seasons.
The professional interactions of these two began in the 1974-1975 season, when Summitt was in her first season as the coach at Tennessee and Hatchell served as the junior varsity coach.