After a Five Year Battle With Alzheimer's, Pat Summit, Died at Age 64
Beloved former head women’s basketball coach at the University of Tennessee, Pat Summitt, died Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at age 64 after a five year battle with Alzheimer's. Summit announced in 2011 that she was diagnosed with early onset dementia, but in keeping with her fiery brand, did not allow her diagnoses to prevent her from passionately continuing her life’s work. Summit stalked the Tennessee sidelines for another season before retiring in April of 2012. Summit dedicated her entire 38-year professional career to Tennessee Athletics and to opening doors for female athletes.
Arguably the greatest college coach to ever live, Summitt was named NCAA Women’s Coach of the Year seven times. Her 1,098 total wins ranks first among NCAA Division I programs both male and female. And her eight total NCAA championships ranked first among women’s head coaches till 2014.
Summit was not just the face of Tennessee basketball – Summitt was the face of women’s sports for generations. Her unmistakable sideline pacing, and aggressive coaching style, gave her players a motivation to play with a unique edge. The trust and relationships Summitt built with players set her apart from her contemporaries. She was a coach, a mom, a mentor, a teacher, and a fierce competitor.
In her words, “Every possession matters! Take pride in every possession! It’s a game of possessions. It’s also a game of wills! Let’s see how tough we are!” This quote is from Summitt’s 2007 Final Four halftime speech versus North Carolina (Tennessee erased a 12 point second half deficit to win 56-50, and ultimately won the national championship against Rutgers for Summitt’s seventh national title).
Pat Summitt is a hero who will not only be missed on Rocky Top but across the country.