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‘Star,’ Big Orange come together for Canans
Former Lady Vol hoopster takes Summit lessons, helps mold son into All-Region


The Star and the Power T. The Anchor and Rocky Top.

Lynne Canan’s athletic prowess, handed down to son, Ty, has brought together UT Big Orange and Farragut High School Navy blue in a two-generation package.

The former Lynne Collins, a gutsy “sixth-man” for Pat Summit’s Lady Vol hoopsters from 1980 to 1984 who set one NCAA record, was painting the stands at Bill Clabo Field last week as a Farragut Football Booster Club member.

Life lessons learned, or enhanced, under Summit, she’s passed on to the next generation?

“Basically to have a passion for what you like to do, and dedicate yourself to it one hundred percent,” said Lynne, a real estate agent for 13 years who received a bachelor’s degree in communications/public relations from UT.

“Play with heart, don’t give up and just work, work, work if you have goals you want to achieve, you’ll succeed at ’em, even if it’s difficult.”

Twenty-seven years after Lynne signed with Summit as an All-state center/power forward at Blacksburg High School, Blacksburg, Va., Ty is ready to showcase his grid prowess as a senior defensive end this fall. The 17-year-old earned All-Region 2-5A honors in 2006.

“She definitely gives me a lot of hard work ethic,” the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder said. “She’s constantly on me getting me to strive for the best. She pushes me and pushes me and really keeps me dedicated.”

Going back to CBFO Basketball days, “Like when she coached me in basketball and I would, like, goof around in practice sometimes, and she would remind me that I should take it serious, that she’s been there and she knows what it takes,” Ty said. “She’s been there, and you can see first-hand what it takes to be a Division One athlete.”

Lynne added, “He’s just a driven kid who wants to play college football. Just seeing some of the things I learned from Pat … what it takes to get where you want to be. Ty always strives to be the best, not only on the field but he’s got a three-point-eight G-P-A and scored quite high on his test.”

A former three-sport athlete from early children into his young FHS career — including basketball — Ty said he needed to prioritize.

“I used to love basketball and baseball, but I just started getting older and seeing that I could have more of a future in football,” Ty said. “I kinda wanted to narrow it down to one sport.”

Disappointed your son didn’t continue following in your basketball footsteps? “No, not really,” Lynne said. “He loved basketball, too, but it’s just so difficult to do more things as you get older. I enjoyed watching him play everything. … it just seemed that football was more of his love.”

TO UT AS A LADY VOL

How did this Virginia girl end up at UT?

“I watched them on T-V a couple of times,” Lynne said of the Lady Vols. “Pat was just getting the program off the ground.”

A high school post/power forward, Lynne, at 6-foot, became a shooting guard/small forward. “I was sixth-man my junior and senior year, I got the Sixth Player Award,” Lynne said.

During Lynne’s four seasons, “We played in three Final Fours, we were championship runner-up twice,” she said, which included losses to Louisiana Tech in 1982 and Southern California — in the national title game — in 1984.

“That was my last game,” Lynn said of the loss to USC.

Lynne said her tenure under Summit “was a great experience, obviously [under] a legend, I learned a lot.

“It was intense,” she added. “She was, and still is, intense, very demanding, How are you gonna get better if you don’t play for the best?”

“When I came in there were seven full ride signees when I was a freshman — and two quit within the first year,” Lynne said. “They called us ‘The Fearless Five’ that lasted all the way through.”

Did Lynne harbor second thoughts about playing under Summit? “Oh no, I love a challenge,” she said. “You get homesick, and it’s hard of course, but I never questioned my decision at all.”

Lynne also cracked the NCAA record books. Although saying she wasn’t a great shooter — listing rebounding, defense and intensity as her strengths —“When I was a sophomore, I set an N-C-A-A record for consecutive field goals, I had seventeen consecutive field goals,” she said. “It was a record for a long time.”

Being “the first play off the bench all four years,” Lynne added, “I was the one that Pat would basically say, ‘go in and make something happen.’

“I was like the unsung hero, the one that dove into the bleachers and did all the dirty work,” she added. “Would guard one of the opponent’s top players. Whatever they needed me to do, that’s basically what I was known for.

“She taught us things all us players carry with us —it’s like a family. It’s something I’ll cherish forever.”

More than 20 years later, “I follow them very closely, see Pat all the time,” Lynne said. “We have Lady Vol reunions, it’s a nice gathering, everybody comes in from out of town.”

The athletic genes handed down to Ty isn’t limited to Lynne. Ty’s father, Tom, was a high school basketball and baseball player in Muncie, Ind.

After UT, “Knoxville just became home and I love it here,” Lynne said. “It’s a great place to raise kids.”

As for keeping alive her skills past 40, Lynne said she has played “in a league in Maryville” off and on in recent years featuring some former Lady Vols, but did not play last season.

BACK TO VIRGINIA

“My parents both played pretty much everything, so we grew up around sports,” Lynne said. “My mom played basketball a long, long time ago at Radford College [now Radford University] in Virginia. My dad was a three-sport athlete in high school.”

Her younger sister, Sandy, played hoops at Virginia Tech in 1981-82 “then she had a knee injury that ended her career,” Lynne said.

 

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