The basketball community is sad today, as we said farewell to the great, legendary coach, Pat Summitt. For the past few years (2011), Summitt has been battling Alzheimer's disease. Which led her to walk away from being on the sidelines for the Tennessee Lady Volunteers. She may no longer be here, however, her legacy will always remain, and the character she portrayed will never falter.
Coach Summitt was a coach that influenced not only the lives of the players she coached, however, other individuals as well. She carried herself at a high level rather she was coaching or not.
In her 38 years at the helm of Tennessee, Summitt was the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history - including on the men's side as well. She finished her career with an overall record of 1098-208 record.
Amazing! That record speaks for itself, and she clearly knew how to win.
Included in that record are 16 SEC Championships and Tournament titles, won eight NCAA titles, eight SEC Coach of the Year awards, seven NCAA Coach of the Year award, and in 2000 was honored as the Naismith Coach of the Century award.
She helped shaped young women into not only great players at Tennessee, but extending the "Pat way" to the next level. There have been 72% of her players who have gone on to be decorated as Olympians, All-Americans, USA National Team members, All-SEC performers, Academic All-Americans.
In 2011, Summitt was awarded the United States Sports Academy Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award for her strong spirit in her public battle with early-onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.
With her public announcement, the basketball community all supported her with thoughts and prayers as she fought this disease. In October of that same year, she was honored with the Maggie Dixon Courage Award. To publicly announce what she was battling, took nothing but courage to speak on and not fight the disease alone.
The Tennessee Communication Association selected Summitt for its most prestigious award, Communicator of the Year in 2011 to go along with Game Changer award from the Huffington Post.
While she is known for being a great coach, she is also known for giving back to the community. In August of 2008, Summitt gave $600,000 to the University of Tennessee. The donation was split between the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Martin to support the women's basketball programs on each campus. To honor her parents, Richard and Hazel Head, $100,000 of that contribution was given for the scholarship for a Lady Vols basketball graduate assistant.
Summitt is the only coach to have two basketball courts being used by Division 1 basketball teams. At the University of Tennessee at Martin - her alma mater - a street on campus is named after her called the Pat Head Summitt Drive, and the court in Skyhawk Arena is named the Pat Head Summitt Court.
The court was christened by her Lady Vols when they took home the victory, 73-32. In 2005 the University of Tennessee held a surprise postgame ceremony, naming the basketball court, the Summitt. There also is a street name on campus called the Pat Summit Head Street.
What others may not know about Summitt, is she has a book, a best-seller, called Reach for the Summit which gives a businesslike philosophy of coaching and then the book, Raising the Roof came out. HBO released a documentary about her fifth NCAA Championship team called a Cinderella season: The 1997 Lady Vols Fight back, as well as becoming the first female coach to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
She truly created a great legacy that was reached by millions through her coaching, donating, documentaries and books she wrote.
Her success did not stop just at Tennessee, as she coached at the international level bringing home plenty of gold medals. She was a player for the U.S Olympic Team, but the next year she was coaching the U.S Junior National team; Summitt led the team to two gold medals. If that isn't remarkable, I don't know what is. Player one year, then head coach and bringing home the highest medal there is.
In 1979, she coached the U.S National Team in the William R. Jones Cup Games, the 1979 World Championships and the 1979 Pan American Games, bringing home two gold medals and one silver medal. No matter what level, Summitt knew how to win. What she also won at was life.
A life where she was family oriented, a hard worker, courageous, a leader and a mother to more than just her son Tyler Summitt.
She will be missed by thousands of people who grew to love, admire and were inspired by her. Coach Summitt just celebrated her 64th birthday on June 14th.
May we all continue to "Pat Back" and celebrate her life by working hard, giving back and enriching other individuals lives.
Here is a chronological list of the late Pat Summitt's awards:
1983 NCAA Coach of the Year
1983 WBCA/Converse Coach of the Year
1987 NCAA Coach of the Year
1987 Naismith College Coach of the Year
1989 NCAA Coach of the Year
1989 Naismith College Coach of the Year
1990 Summitt received the most prestigious award given by the Basketball Hall of Fame, the John Bunn Award. Summitt was the first female to win the award in the Hall's history.
1990 Women's Sports Foundation Hall of Fame
1993 SEC Coach of the Year
1994 NCAA Coach of the Year
1994 Naismith College Coach of the Year
1994 Coach of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, Ohio
1995 SEC Coach of the Year
1995 SEC Coach of the Year
1995 NCAA Coach of the Year
1995 WBCA/Converse Coach of the Year
1996 "Distinguished Citizen of the Year" by the Great Smoky Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
1996 inducted into the National Association for Sport and Physical Education's Hall of Fame
1997 Governor Ned McWherter Award of Excellence
1997 Coach of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, Ohio
1997 Casey Award, which is annually presented by the Kansas City Sports Commission.
1997 Honored at White House and named one of "25 Most Influential Working Mothers" as selected by Working Mother magazine
1998 NCAA Coach of the Year
1998 Naismith College Coach of the Year
1998 IKON/WBCA Coach of the Year
1998 City of Knoxville's "1998 Woman of the Year."
1998 Glamour magazine's "1998 Women of the Year,"
1998 Coach of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, Ohio
1999 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
1999 ARETE Award for Courage in Sports
1999 WISE 1999 Women of the Year
2000 Naismith Coach of the Century
2000 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
2001 SEC Coach of the Year
2003 SEC Coach of the Year
2004 SEC Coach of the Year
2004 NCAA Coach of the Year
2004 Naismith College Coach of the Year
2007 SEC Coach of the Year
2007 "Winged Foot" Award by the New York Athletic Club
2007 2007 Dick Enberg Award winner by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA)
2007 Named one of "Americas Best Leaders for 2007" by U.S. News & World Report
2008 John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching lifetime achievement award
2008 "Winged Foot" Award by the New York Athletic Club
2008 Best Coach/Manager (collegiate or pro level) ESPY
2008 Joe Lapchick Character Award
2009 Honorary doctorate from the United States Sports Academy
2009 2009 WNBA Inspiring Coach Award
2009 RUSSELL ATHLETIC/WBCA Victory Club Award for 1,000 career wins
2011 SEC Coach of the Year
2011 Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award by The United States Sports Academy
2011 Maggie Dixon Courage Award
2011 Named a 2011 Game Changer by The Huffington Post
2011 Communicator of the Year by The Tennessee Communication Association
2011 Third member of the Tennessee Women's Hall of Fame
2011 2011 Sports Illustrated Sportswoman of the Year alongside 2011 Sportsman of the Year, Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski
2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom
2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the President's Council on Physical Fitness, Sports & Nutrition
2012 Named to the U.S. Department of State's Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports
2012 Pop Warner Female Achievement Award
2012 Global ATHENA Leadership Award
2012 Tennessean of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame
2012 Michael J. Cleary Merit of Honor Award by NACDA
2012 Arthur Ashe Courage Award
2012 Billie Jean King Legacy Award presented by the USTA
2012 UT Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumna Award
2012 Knoxville Association of Women Executives Notable Woman Award
2012 The NCAA also honored her legacy, and that of UCLA men's basketball coaching great John Wooden, by naming a room in its new Myles Brand headquarters building the Summitt-Wooden Room
2013 AARP Andrus Lifetime Achievement Award
2013 New York Athletic Club "Winged Foot" Legend Award
2013 Mannie Jackson - Basketball's Human Spirit Award
2013 FIBA Hall of Fame
2013 Keith Jackson Eternal Flame Award presented by CoSIDA