CHATTANOOGA — Lady Vol head basketball coach Holly Warlick was honored Tuesday as the 2017 Tennessee Woman of Distinction at the 32nd Annual Chattanooga Women of Distinction Awards luncheon at the city’s convention center.
The event, which honors the area’s outstanding women, benefits the American Lung Association in Tennessee and its mission to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Monies raised help fund medical research, advocacy and education efforts in Tennessee.
Since 1993, a Tennessee Woman of Distinction recipient has been honored for her years of distinguished leadership, volunteer activities, philanthropic work or professional accomplishments that have contributed to improving the quality of life in Tennessee.
Tennessee’s 110th General Assembly issued House Joint Resolution No. 277, recognizing Warlick for the accomplishment. She follows such previous Tennessee Women of Distinction winners as her friend and mentor Pat Summitt (1996), U.S. Congresswoman Marilyn Lloyd (1994), acclaimed opera singer and actress Mary Costa (2000), Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal (2001) and U.S. Olympic basketball gold medalist Venus Lacy (2002).
A 1981 UT graduate and Lady Vol point guard who was a three-time All-American and a 1980 selection for the U.S. Olympic Team, Warlick has spent 32 seasons on the staff at Tennessee, helping recruit and coach teams that won 35 combined SEC titles and eight NCAA National Championships.
Since being named head coach at Tennessee on April 18, 2012, she has compiled a 128-46 record in her first five seasons of leading the program and is one of only five coaches to guide her team to the NCAA Elite Eight or higher three times in the past five seasons. The others are Geno Auriemma (UConn), Kim Mulkey (Baylor), Muffet McGraw (Notre Dame) and Tara VanDerveer (Stanford).
Under her leadership, Tennessee is one of only nine Power Five schools to claim multiple conference titles over the past five years. With two of her players being selected this season, she has continued the Lady Vols’ tradition in the WNBA Draft. Eight student-athletes she mentored have been selected, running the total of UT’s WNBA picks to 39 all-time.
Off the court, Warlick has continued the program’s 100-percent graduation rate, and she remains active in the community. Among the many causes she supports, her Champions for a Cause foundation raises funding and awareness for breast cancer research, and she has been active in aiding the Pat Summitt Foundation’s efforts in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.