Transition is rarely an easy thing. When you are transitioning from a coach who has been at the forefront of your program for nearly four decades, it is even more difficult.
But the Lady Vols and head coach Holly Warlick have calmed any doubts and currently sit in a familiar place for the women's basketball program, the top 10.
Being the right-hand of Pat Summitt put Warlick in a terrific position to succeed, and when time came for Tennessee to choose someone to replace the Hall of Fame coach, Warlick was the clear choice to make the transition after Pat as smooth as possible.
That didn't mean there still wouldn't be difficulties though.
"She's been in the program for 27 years and she knows the ins and outs, but stepping into a new role as a coach and leader was an adjustment period for all of us," senior Taber Spani said.
As an assistant, Warlick was the fun, joking coach who the players could go to and be the mediator between them and Summitt. After they are yelled at by the head coach, they could go to Warlick for a more laid-back approach to coaching. These days Warlick is the one yelling at practice and in the locker room.
"When you're an assistant coach you are a go-between from the head coach and the players. That's your role and I understood that," Warlick said. "Now I am in a different role. I still have a great relationship with them, but I have to make sure things get done. As difficult as it is for them, and it's hard for me sometimes, but the end result is the most important."
The key to Warlick's new approach? Meanness, according to some.
"Holly is still our head coach so she's going to be strict and bring that meanness that a head coach can bring," sophomore Isabelle Harrison said. "She's really gotten into that and learned the role that we can have fun at times but being strict at times, and I think she's done a great job at that."
The Lady Vols (11-3, 2-0 SEC) started as poorly as one could imagine with a 80-71 loss at the hands of University of Tennessee-Chattanooga in the season opener.
It was obvious there were still things that needed to be worked out on the practice floor.
"We run a similar style to what we have during my time here, but there were still wrinkles, intensity and mentality things we still needed to work on early in the season," Spani said. "At this point I feel like everyone is on the same page and we are moving nicely."
Tennessee then won seven straight games before falling to No. 3 Baylor and No. 1 Stanford in the same week. Since then, the Lady Vols have won four straight and are 2-0 in the SEC.
"We can't look at the outside factors because we know we lost to Baylor, we lost to Stanford and those are the teams we want to be able to play with and hopefully beat down the stretch," Spani said.
There has only been half of a season played so far, but the first-year head coach appears to have found the coaching tools to bring the best out of her team.
"We feel that Holly is very capable, she's done a great job with this team and we've really bought into her system," Spani said.