Dear Pat Summitt,
We never met - but thank you.
Thank you for your leadership, your kindness and your competitive charisma. Thank you for paving the way for women's basketball and even beyond. Thank you for your commitment to the game, but more importantly, for your commitment to the people around you at all levels, structures, divisions and corners of the world. Thank you for embodying what every winner should stand for.
We're all wondering to ourselves how you did it. How you became the winningest coach in NCAA history - men or women. How you were a seven-time NCAA Coach of the Year. How you had 18 Final Four appearances.
How you won eight NCAA Championships. How you won 16 SEC Tournament Championships. How you posted a career record of 1,098 wins to just 208 losses. How - in 38 years of coaching - every single one of your players received a college diploma.
We have somewhat of an idea on how you've done what once seemed impossible. We've come to understand that you were born to do much more than coach basketball. Yes, you knew the X's and O's and could craft brilliant game plans - a basketball genius if you will - but you had an uncanny ability to make people feel they mattered.
From your players, your staff, your peers, your fans or any random person who you happened to cross paths with, your genuine spirit was never questioned.
Your innate ability to connect with others is what makes you a legend. We all have our crosses to bear, but your willingness to help lighten other people's load is why millions are paying tribute to you today. There's a huge difference between caring and people knowing you care. Rest assured; people knew you cared relentlessly, and they walked away better people because of it.
Today we have answers on how you did it. As sports fans far and wide mourn your loss, as one of the greatest icons in basketball history, we begin to grasp just how impactful you were and will continue to be.
Every tear shed, every article written, every tweet posted, every story told and every interview given on your behalf - they capture precisely the coach and person you were. You may not be here anymore, but may you and your loved ones rest easy knowing you moved mountains in a short 64 years of life.
We never met - but thank you once again.
A lot of us.