Youth leaders look at new Pat Summitt statue as inspiration for girls

Clarksville dedicated a statue on Friday of former Tennessee women's basketball coach and Montgomery County native Pat Summitt. (WSMV)

Friday was a big day for the history of Tennessee athletics. Clarksville unveiled a statue of legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summitt. Some said the statue could serve as a major inspiration.

For 10-year-old Amariah Davis, playing basketball is pure joy.

“I’m going pass it to Jocelyn," she told a group of girls in a huddle on the court. "Jocelyn’s going to pass it to you.”

“If I could do something, I’d like to play in the NBA finals," said Amariah. "I have to work hard and feel confident."

That's where Keisha Ivery comes in. She manages Clarksville's Kleeman Recreation Center, teaching lessons through coaching.

“We are in a predominantly low-income area," Ivery said. “We teach discipline, dedication, some of those things you’ll carry throughout life.”

Amariah already knows to grab some water and get back out on the court with laces tied tight, just like the greats.

Clarksville already has a statue dedicated to Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph.

Friday, a statue of Summitt joined Rudolph at Liberty Park.

Ivery is proud her girls can see these figures as inspirations, women at the top of athletics.

“Something that’s important is we tell the stories of these role models," she said. "We should tell them the stories of their life and how they got here.”

“All you need is practice and just hope," added Amariah.

“We’ll keep encouraging them, and we’ll keep pushing them forward," said Ivery.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Forrest Sanders is an award-winning reporter, videographer and editor at News4.

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