"The Stack" 6-28-16

Legendary Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt has passed away Tuesday morning due to dementia. She was 64.
Iceland stunned the world by beating England 2-1 in the round of 16 of the Euro Cup. They will now meet France.

The Stack wasn’t anticipating posting a blog today, but how can’t we when one of if not the biggest sports upsets ever happened yesterday.  Yes, my Iceland team, your Iceland team, the world’s Iceland team.  Before we get to that though, we have some sad breaking news to report.  Let’s talk about it and more, but first Arizona beat Coastal Carolina 3-0 in game one of the College World Series.  It is a best-of-three series with game two set for tonight.  Now let’s get right to “the stack” for today, Tuesday, June 28th:


Pat Summitt passes away


Legendary Tennessee Volunteers women’s basketball head coach Pat Summitt passed away early this morning at the age of 64.  We mentioned we would be talking more about her health in yesterday’s post as her health was deteriorating and family was gathered by her side.  Her dementia was accelerating and it came to an end Tuesday morning.


There is no great way to describe her impact on women’s college basketball.  She was a pioneer.  She has made women’s college basketball and women’s basketball in general what it is today.  She turned Tennessee into a power house and made them a must-see team wherever they played.  Tennessee often played in front of a packed house something almost unheard of in women’s college basketball.  She helped transform and transcend the game.  Her impact will be felt for years and years.  Her eight national championships won at the school over her 38 year coaching career is something to look at with admiration and be very proud of.


She has so much respect both from her former players and coaches on both the men’s and women’s side, but also from the public in general.  Summitt is the winningest coach in basketball history, men’s or women’s with 1,098 wins.  That is bound to be surpassed by Duke’s Coach K and maybe one day by Uconn women’s head coach Geno Auriemma, but Summitt set that mark.  Fittingly it seems, in order for these coaches or any coaches to be the winningest coach in basketball they must reach for Summitt.  Summitt has touched so many people’s lives.  It is a sad day in Knoxville, for the basketball world and for the world in general.  RIP Pat Summitt.


Iceland shocks England


When Iceland tied Portugal in their first match in group play of the Euro Cup, I said there were a number of different upsets and one I forgot to mention was 5000-1 odd Leicester City won the Premier League earlier this year.  Well what Iceland did yesterday in my mind tops what Leicester City did.  Iceland knocked off England 2-1 to advance to the Euro Cup quarterfinals where they will take on host country France.  It didn’t look good early when the Iceland goalkeeper committed a foul and England was award a penalty kick in the third minute of the contest.  Wayne Rooney buried it and England was up 1-nil.  That lead was short lived for the euphoric crowd and the team when Ragnar Sigurdsson put one in the back of the net that came off of a perfectly executed set play of a throw inbounds and a header.   Knotted up 1-1, Iceland would take the lead for good in the 18th minute with some nifty passing right around the box and Kolbenin Sigthorsson sneaked one by the English keeper to give Iceland a 2-1 lead.  They would win by that score sending shockwaves across the goal.  Iceland, a country with 331,000 people in it beat mighty England.  Moments after the loss, England’s manager Roy Hodgson said he was stepping down.  Sounds like a bit of a Lionel Messi move right there (too soon?), but  I’m sure much of England is delighted by that, but it won’t help take the sting out of losing to Iceland any more.  This is possibly the greatest upset in the world.  I still put the Miracle on Ice in the 1980 Winter Olympics as the number one upset of all-time, but this ranks right up there.  Very, very close. 


I love cheering for the underdogs.  Iceland is on the fast track of not being an underdog.  I love History’s Vikings with Ragnar Lothbrook as the main character raiding Europe in 900s and 1000s.  When I think of Iceland, I think of Vikings and being a Vikings fans it seems like a natural fit.  I am all in with this team this tournament.  Way to go Iceland.  Way to go.  Celebrate as long as you want and in Iceland where there is 21 hours of daylight, that could be a very long time.  Oh yeah, in the other match today Italy took down Spain 2-0.  The quarterfinals start Thursday.  ICELAND!!!!


Hockey Hall of Fame inductees announced


Four new names will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Most people will recognize Eric Lindros who played for the Philadelphia Flyers and won an MVP (Art Ross Trophy) in 1994-95.  He headlines the class.  The others joining him are Sergei Marakov who played for the USSR and in the NHL, Rogie Vachon who was a goalie for the Los Angeles Kings and Montreal Canadiens in the 1970s and the late former head coach Pat Quinn.  They will be inducted in November.  Congratulations to all the inductees.


While we are on the NHL, free agency starts soon for them as it does for the NBA as well and that means plenty of suitors for Kevin Durant.  Will it be Oklahoma City, Golden State or San Antonio?  We’re about to find out soon.


 Coming up later this week: Reaction to top stories in the sports world