As a youngster, Susan Summons never intended on becoming a basketball coach.
But she did and 30 plus years later, her record speaks for itself.
On Dec. 12, the ultra upbeat and charismatically chatty Summons—who is entering her 30th season as the head women’s basketball coach at Miami Dade College— notched her 500th career victory during a resounding 101-64 home victory versus Clinton Junior College.
“There are a lot of accomplishments that go into the milestone of 500,” Summons said. “It’s not just 500 wins on the court, but the numbers that make up 500 are so many. The 500 students that I’ve worked with. The 500 students athletes; 500 represents them. They are the 500.”
So how did Summons find her way to the coaching chair?
She was part of the Women’s Professional Basketball League, the first women’s basketball league which lasted from 1978 to 1981. After suffering a back injury in a game, as well as numerous setbacks, she was no longer able to continue playing basketball.
But while trying to recover from her back injury, Summons had a fateful encounter. Judith Baker, a women’s basketball coach at Madison Park High School in Boston, Massachusetts, at the time, asked Summons to help her with the team. Summons assisted the team in winning a state champions
Summons said coaching at Madison Park changed her life.
In 1982, Summons became the head women’s basketball coach at Roxbury Communality College in Boston, where she had previously starred as a scrappy point guard. Summons stayed at Roxbury until 1986, when she accepted the head coaching job at MDC.
Now, entering her 30th year at MDC, Summons has garnered many accolades during her tenure with the Lady Sharks. She’s been National Coach of the Year, a recipient of the Carol Eckman Award, won the Josten Berenson Award, awarded the National Sports Ethic Fellow Award, along with various other honors.
“[Summons] is one of the hardest working people that I know,” said Erica Redman, who serves as the Lady Sharks Associate Head Women’s Basketball Coach. “Her motor is always running, driving and pushing for students to accomplish their goals.”
Miami Dade College Athletic Director Anthony Fiorenza said that despite all the victories Summons has amassed during her coaching career, what matters most to her is her kids. That is evident when you hear her talk about the hundreds of past and present players she has mentored toward graduation.
But Summons admits that one distinction has eluded her.
“The one honor that seems to escape me is a state title,” Summons said. “I’ve yet to cut down the nets for a State Title for Miami Dade College.”
She still has time for that.
The Lady Sharks next game is Jan. 20 at Broward College.