The Influence of Pat Summitt in the Workplace

Pat Summitt Dedication Plaza

The Pat Summitt Dedication Plaza at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville was dedicated in 2014.

Respect yourself and others. Make hard work your passion. Handle success like you handle failure.

These are tenets that any workplace values. Those tenets, however, are just a few of a dozen tenets championed by legendary University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers Basketball Head Coach Pat Summitt, who passed away June 28, 2016 at age 64 from complications of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

For R+L Carriers Director of Application Management Russ Boone and his daughter, Gabrielle, the college basketball coach with the most (both men and women) wins in college basketball history affected both their personal relationship and their professional lives in a positive way.

“The teamwork concepts that sports teach you and that Pat Summitt stressed every day are critical to success in any area of your life,” Russ said.

Pat Summitt will be remembered during a University of Tennessee Celebration of Life service that’s open to the public 7 p.m. July 14. The service will also be broadcast live on ESPN2 and the SEC Network.

On Becoming a Pat Summitt Fan

The principles of Pat Summit trickled down to both her basketball players and outside of that orange and white basketball court while she won eight national titles and 1,098 games in her 38 years on the Lady Vols sidelines. For players and fans, Summitt’s presence and demeanor on the court, along with her dozen tenets to live by, titled “Pat’s Definite Dozen,” changed lives and inspired those in the workplace.


Gabrielle Boone was a center/forward for her local high school team, helping lead her team to two sectional titles.

An avid sports fan and a former youth league and high school soccer coach, Russ hoped his daughter would appreciate his love of sports, particularly men’s college basketball. When she became interested in women’s college basketball, the longtime fan of the men’s University of Kentucky Wildcats did what any good dad does. He got involved in the team that interested his daughter.

“I told my then teenage daughter during the 2005-06 season that if the Lady Vols reached the next round of the NCAA tournament and played in Cleveland, I would take her,” Russ said.

Summitt and the Vols made it to the next round and dad made good on his promise.

The result? Both father and daughter were hooked, becoming lifelong Pat Summitt and Lady Vols fans. While the team lost in Ohio that year, the Boones started making annual trips to Knoxville to see the Lady Vols play on their home court.

“I remember thinking, this place is sold out and this is an amazing experience in a sea of orange and white,” Russ said. “Then I remember thinking, the intensity and passion that Pat Summitt had for the game and how it affected her players and how they played was amazing.”

Gabrielle had a love at first sight moment during the 2005-06 season when she saw the Lady Vols play earlier in the season at The Ohio State University and then later in the NCAA tournament game with her dad in Cleveland.

“It was just an unbelievable experience to watch them play and watch Pat Summitt coach from the sidelines,” Gabrielle said.

Besides the annual trips to Knoxville, Dad also made a promise that they would drive anywhere within an 8-hour driving radius to see them play in the NCAA tournament when they could.

By that time, Gabrielle had become a center/forward for her local high school team, helping lead her team to two sectional titles.

Meeting Pat Summitt


Gabrielle Boone got to meet her role model, Tennessee Lady Volunteers Coach Pat Summitt, in the summer of 2007 at a basketball camp in Knoxville.

Gabrielle’s best basketball memories are the summers of 2007 and 2008, when she attended back to back high school Lady Vols summer basketball camps where Pat Summitt made appearances and talked with attendees. Gabrielle got to learn drills, scrimmage, meet the players and more importantly, meet Pat Summit. Gabrielle has an autographed basketball and shoe from Pat Summit that she proudly displays in her home.

“At camp, Pat always stressed that being a better person is more important than basketball and to surround yourself with good people,” Gabrielle said.

Russ remembers that during the first year of the camp, the attendees participated in a Lady Vols trivia session and received prizes for answering trivia questions correctly.

“It wasn’t too long before Gabrielle was shut down from answering the questions because she was winning all the prizes,” Russ said. “She knew every single answer.”

Gabrielle remembers being able to list the freshman players for the roster that coming season at the trivia session, which shocked those running the session.

“I started feeding answers to the other girls at camp so they could win something,” Gabrielle said.

Summitt’s Influence in the Workplace

Today, 24-year-old Gabrielle is a proud five-year member of the U.S. Air Force. A Staff Sergeant at the Whiteman Air Force Base Command Post in Missouri, Gabrielle is the eyes and ears of the base for her Wing Commander, working as the Non-Commissioned Training Officer to train those in service on how to do their job on the base.

Gabrielle keeps the original copy of Pat’s Definite Dozen she received at the camp on her refrigerator and says Pat Summitt’s reach has affected both her family and her professional life.

“Sports, the Lady Vols and Pat Summitt have been a major bonding experience for my dad and I,” Gabrielle said.

And professionally?

“Military leaders talk about the same value points that are listed in Pat Summitt’s Definite Dozen,” Gabrielle said. “I look at that sheet every day on my refrigerator to remind me of those values.”

Gabrielle points to some examples as to why Pat Summitt was her role model.

“She never compromised her morals to win games, even though she won more than anyone,” said Gabrielle, noting that Pat Summitt was never afraid to pull a player  from the starting lineup of a big game for breaking a team rule, even star players like Candace Parker.

Air Force Staff Sergeant Gabrielle Boone

Today Gabrielle Boone is a proud five-year member of the U.S. Air Force. She is a Staff Sergeant at the Whiteman Air Force Base Command Post in Missouri.

Pat Summitt also mandated that all of her players sit in the first three rows of college classrooms throughout her career. The result? A 100 percent graduation rate for her Lady Vols players over 38 years.

For Russ, Pat Summitt will never be forgotten in his personal or professional life either.

“Having Pat Summitt as a role model made it a lot better for my daughter, not just for sports, but to teach her how to apply those principles to her life on a daily basis,” Russ said. “Coach Summitt stressed career success through hard work, teamwork and communication.”

Get your own copy of Pat Summitt’s “Definite Dozen” here.

Interested in working for a company that allows for career success through similar principles taught by Pat Summitt? We are seeking to fill open positions in logistics and technology, among other positions. Family owned and operated for more than 50 years, we offer a work environment that is both fun and challenging.

If you’re looking for a position in a company that values family, a strong work ethic and fun, apply today for a position at careers.rlcarriers.com.

Tags: , , ,

Categorised in: