Chrisstasia Walker, a 5-foot-8 junior guard on Louisiana Tech's women's basketball game, was born Oct. 9, 1991.
Her new head coach is less than 13 months older than she is.
announced Tuesday it has hired 23-year-old Tyler Summitt to revitalize a once-dominant women's basketball program that went to 13 Final Fours prior to 1999 but endured its first-ever losing seasons the past two years. Summitt, the son of legendary former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, graduated from college in 2012 and has spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Marquette.Louisiana Tech
Neither Summitt nor Louisiana Tech officials will speak until a Wednesday afternoon press conference, but it's easy to see athletic director Tommy McClelland's vision.
McClelland has reason to be comfortable with young people in positions of authority since McNeese State made him the youngest Division I athletic director at age 26 in March 2008. Furthermore, Summitt's last name shines a spotlight on the program and his upbringing ensures he has basketball acumen and experience beyond his years.
Summitt was around his mom's program at Tennessee since he was in diapers, whether it was flying to a game in Pat's lap before he was a month old, sitting on the end of the bench as a toddler or riding the back of the bus with the players while in grade school. By high school, he'd attend his mom's early morning workouts before school, practice with his team in the afternoons and then race across town to watch as much of the Vols' practice as he could.
Preparation for a career in coaching continued for Summitt once he enrolled at Tennessee.
He spent the 2009-10 season working for his mom as a student assistant and played for Bruce Pearl and Cuonzo Martin as a walk-on with the men's program the following two years. In his spare time, Summitt also worked camps and coached several Knoxville-area AAU teams, including the talent-laden Tennessee Fury 17U Girls.
"I've always felt I've had a leg up because I grew up around basketball," Summitt told Yahoo Sports in a 2012 interview. "When you grow up a coach's kid, there's something unique about it and I don't think it's just with coaching. I think it's leadership as a whole because you see the impact on the players. You're in the staff meetings seeing what the staff is doing, but you also see the effects. You get both sides."
It's unlikely Summitt's career would have advanced this quickly were he not the son of maybe women's basketball's greatest coach, but nepotism certainly wasn't the sole reason he got his assistant coaching gig at Marquette.
Neither Marquette coach Terri Mitchell nor anyone else at the school were especially close with Pat. Summitt landed that job by looking up Mitchell's office number on Marquette's website, cold-calling her to request an interview and then wowing her enough face-to-face that he had a verbal offer before he left Milwaukee.
Marquette was 14-17 the year before Summitt arrived. The Golden Eagles went 22-11 in his second season as an assistant coach and reached the second round of the women's NIT.
It's certainly a huge gamble for Louisiana Tech to take hiring a head coach who's only two years removed from college and ony a year or two older than his best players, but the Lady Techsters are hopeful that it pays off.
If Pat could launch her coaching career at age 22 almost four decades ago, maybe her son can do the same at age 23.
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