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TSJ Remembers Pat Summitt

Pat Summitt Tennessee Volunteers via

NCAA – Pat Summitt

Legendary Sports Icon Pat Summitt Passes Away At Age 64

Pat Summitt will always be remembered as one of the most influential coaches in NCAA history. In her 38 years at The University of Tennessee, she lead the Lady Vols basketball team to 8 national titles and over 1,000 wins. Her resume, however, goes deeper than just national titles and wins. She had a special gift that allowed her to connect to her players and that is what made her a successful coach.

In 1974, Summitt took over the woman’s basketball program at the age of 22. In the years to come, Summitt built the program into a powerhouse that competed for a national championship almost every year. She faced adversity on and off the court from people who said women should not be playing sports. She gained the respect from her players by teaching them that women can do anything that men can do.

Summitt demanded the best from her players in a way that made them want to do better. She instilled a drive in her players that helped them on and off the court. The Hall-of-Fame coach has a 100% graduation rate among her players during her career. Her players knew that Pat expected the best from her players and the respect that they had for her allowed them to make her the winningest coach in division-1 history.

Pat Summit’s 8 national championships rank behind only John Wooden and Geno Auriemma. Auriemma and Summitt had a rivalry on the court that was second to none between 1995 and 2007. Auriemma’s UConn Huskies faced the Lady Vols 22 times in that 12 year time period.

Along with her NCAA success, Summitt also has two Olympic medals to her credit. She was a driving force behind women in the Olympics and she helped shape the women’s Olympic basketball program into what it is today.

In 2000, Summitt was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. She was also named the Naismith Coach of the Century in the same year.

Pat Summitt was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She battled the disease until Tuesday when she passed away at the age of 64.

Without Pat Summitt, women’s sports would not be what it is today. She built a program at Tennessee that has become the model for other women’s programs across the country. Every player and fan alike will miss the legendary woman that was Pat Summitt. R.I.P.