The 11th season of SEC Storied wraps with “CATCH98” – the story of Tamika Catchings and the 1997-98 Tennessee Lady Vols. The hour-long documentary premieres on Thursday, June 23 – the 50th anniversary of Title IX – at 7 p.m. ET on SEC Network.
When Catchings arrived at the University of Tennessee, Pat Summitt had already won five national championships – two of them in the previous two years. Women’s basketball at Tennessee was unequivocally the best in the country, as the 1997-98 Lady Vols made history with a perfect 39-0 record, the most wins ever in women’s collegiate basketball at the time, completing an unprecedented NCAA Championship three-peat. “CATCH98” tells their story through the lens of team member and 2020 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Tamika Catchings – one of the greatest, and in some ways, unlikeliest to ever play the game.
“What a privilege and an honor to go back and reminisce on our 1997-98 undefeated Tennessee Lady Vols season through ‘CATCH98,’” said Catchings, now an ESPN and SEC Network college basketball analyst. “Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern Winters were phenomenal to work with and so thorough on the work that went into telling our story again. Some things are never to be forgotten and having the opportunity to re-live the moments with my family, teammates and fans was amazing.”
The film explores how Catchings’ childhood shaped her extraordinary persona and the exceptional athlete she has become. In 1997, Catchings was part of a freshman Lady Vols recruiting class that became known as “The Fab Four.” They joined powerhouse upperclassmen Chamique Holdsclaw and current Tennessee head coach Kellie (Jolly) Harper. Some of these legendary teammates gather in their former locker room to reminisce and share never-told-before stories about that truly historic season.
“CATCH98” was directed by filmmaking duo Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern Winters.
“Lisa and I have been intrigued by the Lady Vols basketball teams since we directed PAT XO, a documentary about legendary coach Pat Summitt,” said Winters. “The undefeated 1997-98 team was extraordinary, led by four incredible freshmen who were affectionately called ‘The Fab Four.’ We chose to tell the story of this particular season through the lens of Tamika Catchings, whose individual journey is even more inspiring than her team’s. The undefeated national championship season was both a culmination of her perseverance and, in some ways, just the beginning of an even more exceptional career and life.”
“One of the most important relationships in Tamika’s life is with her sister, Tauja,” added Lax. “As twin sisters, Nancy and I grew up playing sports together, and we were enamored and curious about their relationship on and off the basketball court.”
Collectively, twin sisters Lax and Winters’ television and film productions have earned them 16 Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award and multiple CASE, Christopher, Cine Golden Eagle, Davey, Gracie, International Monitor, Tell, and Sabre Awards. In 2021, they were awarded an Olympic Golden Ring Award for Best Equality and Inclusion Content presented by the IOC. “CATCH98” is the pair’s fourth SEC Storied film, having directed “Coach Bernie” in 2015, “Mighty Ruthie” in 2016 and “Once Upon a Comeback” in 2021.
After building illustrious careers at rival networks — Winters at ABC producing Wide World of Sports and directing soap operas and Lax at NBC Sports directing, producing, and managing the production of over 500 short films & profiles for the Atlanta, Sydney & Salt Lake City Olympic Games — they fulfilled their lifelong dream of working together by joining forces in 2002.
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The Southeastern Conference and ESPN launched SEC Network on August 14, 2014. The network televises hundreds of games across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming includes in-depth analysis and storytelling in studio shows such as SEC Nation, Thinking Out Loud, Out Of Pocket and Rally Cap, daily news and information with The Paul Finebaum Show and SEC Now, original content such as TrueSouth, SEC Storied and SEC Inside, and more. Hundreds of additional live events are available for streaming exclusively on SEC Network’s digital companion, SEC Network+, via the ESPN App and SECNetwork.com. The network is also available in more than 135 countries throughout Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia via ESPN Player, ESPN’s sports streaming service in the region.