Pat Summit, Winningest Coach In D1 History, Has Died At 64
Pat Summitt, the winningest coach in Division I college basketball history who helped boost the women's game to the big time in a 38-year career at Tennessee, has died at 64.
With an icy glare on the sidelines, Summitt led the Lady Vols to eight national championships and prominence on a campus steeped in the traditions of the football-rich south until she retired in 2012.
Her son, Tyler Summitt, issued a statement Tuesday morning saying his mother died peacefully at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville surrounded by those who loved her most.
Tyler's statement said "since 2011, my mother has battled her toughest opponent, early onset dementia, 'Alzheimer's Type' ... and we can all find peace in knowing she no longer carries the heavy burden of this disease. "
Kentucky women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell started his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Summitt at Tennessee.
“We are saddened by the news of Coach Summitt's passing,” Mitchell said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Summitt family and the Lady Vol family. She impacted millions of people in such positive ways. Pat gave me the incredible privilege to work for her and she taught me so much. I will be eternally grateful for that opportunity. All of us who learned from her should now make certain we pass along the lessons she taught. She will be greatly missed but her positive impact on the game of basketball and on the people she led will last forever.”
UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart also worked with Summitt at Tennessee as an administrator from 1986-1998 and joined Mitchell in offering his condolences.
“Summarizing Pat Summitt’s impact is impossible because she embodied all of the virtues you can imagine as a coach and a leader, from class to toughness to passion,” Barnhart said. “Working with her at Tennessee was truly an honor, as was competing against her. She was an incredible icon in not only the game of women’s basketball, but in sports in general. She was a trailblazer who helped pave the way for what women’s sports are today and we are eternally grateful to her. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the Summitt family and the Tennessee Athletics family. Pat will be missed.”