Susan Summons, who has served as the head basketball coach at Miami Dade College for 32 years, will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on June 9 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The accolade is based on her trailblazing professional basketball career.
Summons was a third-round pick of the New Jersey Gems in 1981 and was one of Boston’s first female African-American professional basketball players. She was later traded to the New England Gulls. The team disbanded shortly after.
“The induction is really a tremendous honor,” Summons said. “To finally have the [Women’s Basketball League], which is the first women’s professional basketball league in the United States, recognized and acknowledged that these tremendous players helped pave the way to what is now the WNBA is amazing.”
The scrappy 5-foot-9-inch point guard spent her first two years of college playing at Roxbury Community College in Boston, where she led her team to back-to-back National Junior College championship tournament appearances. At Roxbury, she was awarded All-American honors before transferring to Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas where she averaged 17.9 points per game during two seasons.
“She [has] the heart of a ballplayer,” said Savannah Clark, a forward for the Lady Sharks last year who earned a scholarship to the University of Rhode Island. “Whenever she would talk about her playing career, we could feel the love she had for the game and that motivated us to keep performing on the court.”
Summons has served as the head coach of the Lady Sharks at MDC since 1986. She has amassed a 549-415 record and prides herself on having more than 95 percent of her players continuing their education at four-year institutions.
“This is a great honor for her and the college,” said Anthony Fiorenza, who serves as athletic director at MDC. “She has been an unbelievable coach for over 30 years that has shown great care for her athletes.”
Summons has received countless awards and recognitions throughout her career. In 2013, she was inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame for her contributions to the community and for her service to women’s sports.
She was also voted by the Miami Herald and Legacy Magazine as a top-50 most powerful black business leaders in 2013 and as a top-100 most influential sports educator in America by the Institute for International Sports in 2009.
Summons’ Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on June 9 at 7 pm in Knoxville, Tennessee and will be streamed online on ESPN http://www.espn.com/watch/