Grizzell or Spinks as she is known to the locals, played girls basketball for five years at Belfry High School now located at Goody, Ky. She said she was approached by Coach Paul Dotson at the beginning of her eighth grade year and asked if she was interested in practicing with the high school team.
"It was much more organized, informitive and intense than I had been exposed to up to that point," Spinks described Belfry's practices. "It was great playing with talented players like Janice Towels, Pam Scott, Terry Blackburn and Tammy Deerfield. They made the transition to high school remarkably easy."
She said Dotson ran a "tight ship" with daily practices and summer camps. Spinks remembers her junior year being invited to the B.C. Allstar Camp, an invitation only camp that was in Macon, Ga.
"I didn't think I would be able to go, but an amazing thing happened," she recalls. "The people of Belfry, Williamson and Pikeville came forward with donations of plane tickets, camp fees, practice gear, everything I needed. I had a great camp with a lot of exposure."
There are many fond memories Spinks carries with her from BHS. She says they are more feelings than events.
"The satisfaction of completing hard practices, the victories, my teammates, the support of my community and family," she recalled. "My brother Dennis working as manager and my brother-in-law and sister, Randy and Jan Williamson, always supporting me at the games. It was a fantastic time in my life."
While playing for the Lady Pirates, Spinks won numerous awards. She was selected as a member of the WDN All-Area team and 60 District All-Tournament team for four years.
In 1984, Spinks was chosen for the All-State team and was MVP of the Lady Pirates. During her stint as a Lady Pirate, the team won the District each year.
Also in 1984, the Lady Pirates won the 15th Region and were Kentucky state runners-up.
She was a member of the AAU basketball team from 1982-83 and 1983-84. Both squads were Kentucky AAU champions.
Letters from different coaches around the country poured into Spinks' home, but she said her Dad said she was going to play for "that Olympic coach." So, she did and headed off to become a Lady Volunteer and play for the winningest coach in all of basketball.
"Playing for Pat Summitt was an experience that could not be duplicated," Spinks explained. "Pat is not the kind of person that you like. She is the kind you respect and you never forget it."
Spinks said it took time for her to adjust to playing in a strange place surrounded by no one she knew with fierce competition.
"Mr. Dotson's practice's were hard but Pat's were brutal," she said comparing it to a military type existence. "Our days were planned from the time we woke up until the time we closed our weary eyes. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 5:30 a.m.: weights, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 5:30 a.m.: track. Everyday our classes were 8 a.m. to noon and at 12:30 p.m. we had to be on the floor taped and stretching. Practice was from 1-4 p.m. Shower, eat, study hall 6-8 p.m. and curfew 10 p.m."
Spinks was a junior and starter when she was on the cover of Sports Illustrated Dec. 21, 1987. The issue covered the number one ranked Lady Vols playing number two Texas. The Lady Vols lost in front of a record breaking crowd.
But when it came to the most important dance, the Lady Vols were ready to step. They won their first NCAA Championship in 1987 in Austin Texas.
"We defeated Louisianna Tech for the title 67-44," Spinks recalls. "It was a fantastic time. We were dubbed "The Corn-fed Chicks" by Long Beach. We were just what Pat had bred us to be and now we had our championship ring.
She says upon the teams return to Knoxville the corridors were filled with fans waving ears of corn.
"But strangely enough, I wasn't surprised by the victory," she says. "We worked had, executed and won."
Spinks was selected to the 1987 SEC All-Tournament team. In 1988, she was inducted to the Belfry High School Hall of Fame.
"As challenging as Belfry was when I began, it was a stepping stone to bigger challenges ahead. I was so fortunate to have a coach like Paul Dotson and teammates like Cindy Stuart," remarks Spinks. "I carry the same philosophy with me today. There are many talented people in the world that will never reach their potential because it takes so much more than talent. It takes work ethic first and that's what I took from playing for the Lady Pirates."
Currently, Spinks resides in Knoxville, Tenn. with her 10 year-old daughter Kasey. She serves as a package car driver for UPS.
"As great as my life was, it doesn't compare to the fullness of it now," Spinks said.