This Tuesday, Pat Summitt, the mind behind the University of Tennessee’s lady Volunteers passed away due to a prolonged battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. She was on her way to becoming the winningest coach in the history of major college basketball.
“Summitt battled the disease with “fierce determination just as she did with every opponent she ever faced,” said her son, Tyler Summitt. “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 burden of this disease.”
In her 38 years at Tennessee, Summitt won eight national titles and 1,098 games. She won the most games, male or female, of any Division one basketball coach. Her teams made 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament. When she became the head coach of the Lady Vols in 1974, she was 22 years old, barely older than some her players. At that time the NCAA did not even formally recognize women’s basketball. She had to drive the team van to road games by herself.
She retired in2012 after her diagnosis of onset Alzheimer’s Disease. To her friends, family, and the Tennessee Volunteers, she was more than a coach, she was a friend and an inspiration. As Pat Summitt passed away today, she joins the ever growing list of celebrity deaths this year including Chyna and Prince, among others.
Numerous coaches, players, and journalists also offered their respects.