Nearly a decade of work by professors Sarah Hillyer (’10) and Ashleigh Huffman (’07 & ’11) culminated at the Bijou Theatre on September 7 with the debut of a short film about Pat Summitt’s role in bringing basketball to girls and women in Iraq.
In 2007, Hillyer and Huffman were graduate students at UT, working at Summitt’s basketball camps. They had an idea that sport could help bring peace to an unsettled world. Pat: A Legacy of Love is the story of what happened after Hillyer and Huffman asked Summitt to donate basketballs to girls in Iraq who had none. It was a simple act that would affect thousands of girls—and one Kurdish girl in particular.
The packed house at the Bijou gave a standing ovation to Khoshee Mohammed, who was featured in the film and was among the first girls in Iraq to benefit from Summitt’s act of kindness. Mohammed says it is her goal in life to be the Iraqi Pat Summitt.
“UT has been a beacon of women’s empowerment through sports since the 1970s, and we want to expand that legacy throughout the world,” said Huffman. “Having worked with more than 72 countries, we feel honored to carry the flag of the orange and white and to encourage women sports pioneers in other countries to continue breaking barriers just like our beloved Coach Summitt.”
Lady Vol Michelle Marciniak (’95) and WBIR’s Robin Wilhoit co-emceed the event, which included remarks from Lady Vols Head Coach Holly Warlick (’81), an appearance by the current Lady Vols basketball team, and a special opening performance by local AAU girls’ basketball team the Tennessee Lady Ballerz.
The evening concluded with a question-and-answer session featuring Hillyer, Huffman, Marciniak, Warlick, Mohammed, and Dana Hart of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Seeing this project come to fruition is truly a dream come true, a labor of love,” said Hillyer. “But in honesty, it’s not a project but a process as we continue to support Khoshee and herIraqi teammates in their quest for opportunity, access, and inclusion in sport and life.”
To find out more or watch a trailer for the film, visit patlegacyoflove.com.