Pat Summit Passes Away At 64
A legend in the game of basketball passed away this morning. Former Tennessee Lady Volunteers head coach Pat Summit, 64, has passed away after a long battle with early-onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.
"It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the passing of my mother, Patricia Sue Head Summitt," said Summitt's son Tyler in a statement. "She died peacefully this morning at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville surrounded by those who loved her most.
"Since 2011, my mother has battled her toughest opponent, early onset dementia, 'Alzheimer's Type,' and she did so with bravely fierce determination just as she did with every opponent she ever faced. Even though it's incredibly difficult to come to terms that she is no longer with us, we can all find peace in knowing she no longer carries the heavy burden of this disease."
In 2012, Summitt coached her final game of her 38-year career as the Lady Vol's head coach, one year after going public with her medical condition.
Hired at the age of 22 in 1974, Summitt would go down in history as one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history. She helped make the Lady Vol's into one of the perennial power-houses in women's college basketball. She racked up eight championships in her career to go along with seven national coach of the year awards as she led Tennessee to 18 Final Four appearances. At the time of her retirement, Summitt had the most wins (1,098) among all college basketball coaches, men and women. Summitt was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
Summitt also won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympic Games as she was head coach of the U.S. Women's team. In 1976, she was a player on the women's Olympic team that won a silver medal; only two years after being hired as the head coach of the Lady Vol's.
In 2012 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama and received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2012 ESPY Awards.
"The biggest thing that she has done for the Lady Vols is create this family atmosphere," former Volunteers star Candace Parker said earlier this week after visiting the legendary coach. "The amount of the prayers and thoughts that have gone out and have been felt across the country has shown how important she's been. Not just to the growth of women's basketball, but the growth of the individual. She has had an impact on everybody's life, and will continue to."