Legendary Basketball Coach Pat Summitt Known for Her Faith, Hard Work, and Character
One of the foremost names in college sports -- especially in the South -- has lost her battle with Alzheimer's. Pat Summitt, who spent an astounding 38 years coaching women's basketball at the University of Tennessee, was 64.
Summitt grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee, and she fell in love with basketball early. Her family moved to Henrietta, the next town over, so that she could play basketball in high school. She played college hoops at the University of Tennessee-Martin, where she received All-American honors. In 1976, she played on the silver medal-winning team at the Montreal Olympics, and eight years later she coached the gold medal-winning team in Los Angeles.
In 1974, Summitt began as a graduate assistant at the University of Tennessee at what would be the start of a stunning 38-year coaching career. In all those seasons, her teams did not have a losing record, and she racked up some impressive stats:
- 8 national titles
- 1,098 wins
- 16 SEC championships
- 16 SEC tournament championships
- 112 NCAA tournament wins
- 36 30-win seasons
- 45 former players who became coaches
And those stats just scratch the surface. Perhaps most impressive was that Summitt coached her entire career at the University of Tennessee.
Summitt gained a reputation for her toughness and work ethic. She once famously spilled the secret to her success when she said, "Here's how I'm going to beat you. I'm going to outwork you. That's it. That's all there is to it."
The only thing that could stop Pat Summitt was Alzheimer's disease. She received a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer's in 2011, but she finished coaching the 2011-12 season before she retired and handpicked her successor, Holly Warlick. President Obama gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, the same year she received ESPN's Arthur Ashe Courage Award.