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Warlick, a three-time All-American who played for Summitt, was her assistant for 27 years.

Hart said he watched Warlick grow this season under what he called “unique circumstances” and that she is deserving of the head job. While Summitt devoted more attention to her health, Warlick took the lead during games and handled postgame interviews, with the entire staff handling recruiting and practices.

“Her mentor will be available for insight and advice, but this is Holly’s team now,” Hart said.

Warlick said she was thankful for all Summitt has done in preparing her for this opportunity as her coach, mentor and friend.

“We will work as hard as we possibly can with the goal of hanging more banners in Thompson-Boling Arena,” Warlick said.

Tamika Catchings, one of Summitt’s former stars and the WNBA’s reigning MVP, saw the news on TV during a meeting.

“Everyone in the back of their minds was thinking this was going to happen anyway. Holly will do a good job,” Catchings said.

Summitt’s diagnosis came during one of the Lady Vols’ most disappointing stretches _ by their coach’s lofty standards, anyway. Tennessee hasn’t won a national championship since 2008 and hasn’t even reached the Final Four, tying for its longest such drought in program history.

“As I’ve said many times, Pat Summitt is a pioneer in basketball,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Her amazing career accomplishments are among an elite group of leaders. Very few people leave a lasting legacy in their chosen professions and Coach Summitt has done just that at the University of Tennessee and in women’s basketball. She raised the level of commitment, pride and notoriety of her sport. I am honored to call her a friend.”

Tennessee’s five seniors were part of the team that lost in the first round of the 2009 NCAA tournament, the only time in school history the Lady Vols had bowed out on the first weekend.

Those seniors promised they would win a ninth national championship this season _ not just for Summitt, but as center Vicki Baugh put it, ” … for everyone who has Alzheimer’s.”

But they couldn’t make it back to the Final Four, losing to Baylor and Brittney Griner, a player Summitt couldn’t convince to come to Knoxville.

Summitt’s career ends with a 1,098-208 record, 16 regular-season Southeastern Conference championships and 16 SEC tournament titles.

During her time, Tennessee never failed to reach the NCAA tournament, never received a seed lower than No. 5 and reached 18 Final Fours.

“Words cannot adequately describe the extraordinary career that Pat Summitt has had in the world of basketball,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “She is a model of class and courage, and I don’t think that enough can be said for just how much Pat has accomplished in building and elevating women’s basketball to its current heights.”

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