A sad day for basketball … the one and only Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt has died at age 64.
Pat Summitt – Rest in Peace
I awoke this morning to the sad but not unexpected news that the legendary Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt had passed away. Summitt was truly an original and one in a million as she won eight NCAA titles and went 1,098-208 in 38 seasons as coach at Tennessee. She began coaching at the age of 22 and single-highhandedly brought woman’s college basketball to the forefront. Sadly had to step down down in 2012 due to early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s. Pat Summitt is probably the greatest woman’s basketball coach ever. This is high praise from me, one who has been a lifetime UCONN woman’s basketball fan. However, without Pat, there would never have been a Geno. What I will miss most about Pat Summitt is the glare. The woman could pierce a hole through you with that stare and she never had to apologize in this ridiculous PC world we live in for getting on her players with fiery half-time and time out speeches to get the best out of her players that she knew they had in them.
On a personal note, I can remember being at Rocky Top in Knoxville, Tennessee in the late 90′s attending a Vols football game. Prior to the game some friends and I went into the Thompson–Boling Arena and noticed that the Lady Vols were practicing. To my surprise they Lady Vols were practicing against guys and schooling them. Pat Summitt was coaching the practice like she coached a game with the same intensity. I just sat and watched in amazement as Pat lit into those girls like I had only seen a coach previously rip guys. You could tell she was a master motivator as she would then praise them when they did something amazing and trust me it was. The funny was that as my friends left to go to the UT game, I stayed. I sat in the stands and kept creeping farther down to get a better view. Anyone can attend a UT football game, I was witnessing greatness. Little did I realize how great, I was watching the preseason practice of the 1997-1998 Lady Vols, what is considered to be one of the greatest teams in the history of U.S. women’s college basketball, who went on to go 39-0.
God bless you Pat Summitt, may you now rest in eternal peace.
Former Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt has died, her son and her website said on Tuesday morning — shortly after her family publicly asked for prayers and acknowledged her health had taken a bad turn.
She was 64 years old.
Summitt announced in August 2011 that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer retired at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season after coaching at Tennessee for 38 years. She won 1,098 games and eight national championships. The court at Thompson-Boling Arena — “The Summitt” — is named in her honor.
Summitt had been living in a retirement center since January. Around 20 former Lady Vols — including WNBA stars Candace Parker and Tamika Catchings — reportedly flew to Knoxville over the weekend to see Summitt one last time. Former Tennessee assistant Mickie DeMos was also reportedly in Knoxville.
Pat Summitt Gives Half-time speech to Lady Vols
She was born on Flag Day, June 14, 1952, and personified the American Dream. Like most iconic figures, she inspired an almost mythical kind of devotion. But how could someone be so larger-than-life magnificent and yet so humbly warm and real?
That was the essence of Pat Summitt, the longtime Tennessee women’s basketball coach who died Tuesday morning at age 64, nearly five years after making public her diagnosis of early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.
To say there will never be anyone else like Summitt is not hyperbole. On the contrary, it seems inadequate. She won eight NCAA titles and went 1,098-208 in 38 seasons as coach at Tennessee. She was one of the most accomplished and influential figures in the history of women’s sports, but also was universally respected and beloved.
A Tribute to Pat Summitt