Lady Vol legends Chamique Holdsclaw and Mickie DeMoss were inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday night at the Tennessee Theatre in downtown Knoxville.
Holdsclaw is Tennessee's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. She won three national championships and two Naismith Awards in her four seasons at UT.
DeMoss coached on Pat Summitt's staff for 20 seasons, helping her win her first six national titles and reaching the Final Four 13 times.
It's fitting that DeMoss and Holdsclaw entered the hall together, since DeMoss played a critical role in getting Holdsclaw to Tennessee and keeping her there.
In the early 1990s, DeMoss targeted Holdsclaw as a player Tennessee needed, but Pat Summitt wasn't sure they'd be able to get her.
"She goes, 'you think you're going to convince a player from New York to come to Knoxville? They don't even understand what we're saying.' I said, 'no, we're going to give it a try,'" DeMoss told WBIR on Friday.
Holdsclaw's grandmother was an important figure in her life. She raised Chamique and her brother while her parents were struggling. Summitt and DeMoss visited Holdsclaw in New York and Chamique's grandmother liked their message.
"Education was number one, my grandmother could care less about basketball," Holdsclaw said. "All the coaches came to my house, everybody sat on the couch and said, 'oh you're going to start, you're going to do that.' Coach Summitt along with Mickey was the only coach that said, 'I have a 100-percent graduation rate,' and so my grandmother was basically signed, sealed, delivered, you're going to Tennessee."
Holdsclaw had an incredible career in Knoxville, garnering All-America honors all four years, but she clashed with Summitt and often threatened to get on a bus and go home. When Holdsclaw would get mad and storm out the door, Summitt would turn to DeMoss and say, "go get her."
"It was really hard, I got so many clipboards thrown at me," Holdsclaw said with a laugh during her speech on Saturday night. "Coach Summitt was so hard on me, she was tough. I'm leading the team in rebounds and she's like, 'Holdsclaw you don't rebound!' Everybody on the line!' She was just really tough and it wasn't until I threatened to transfer to UConn several times that she sat me down and explained it to me."
Holdsclaw was named an All-American all four years at Tennessee and was a six-time WNBA All-Star. She battled mental health issues during her pro career but has overcome them and now uses her story to help young athletes learn about mental health.
THE TIME DEMOSS BEAT SUMMITT
Mickie DeMoss joined Pat Summitt's staff along with Holly Warlick in 1985. Summitt tasked her with recruiting top players to help Tennessee win its first national championship.
"When I came up and interviewed, she asked me a very pointed question, and said, 'do you think you can get me the players to win a championship?' I said, 'I think I can, can you win it?' and she was like, 'oh, I like your confidence,' so I said, 'let's do it, let's get this done.' Two years later, in 1987, Tennessee won its first championship," DeMoss told WBIR on Friday.
DeMoss spent 18 seasons with Summitt and Warlick, winning six national championships before taking the opportunity to guide her own program as head coach at Kentucky. In 2006, top ranked Tennessee came to Lexington and DeMoss' Wildcats upset the Lady Vols.
Watch the video above for DeMoss and Warlick's recollection of that game.