Pat Summitt had been a part of University of Tennessee Woman’s Basketball for 38 years. She won more Division I college basketball games than any other coach– male or female. In May 2011, Summitt announced her diagnoses of early on-set Alzheimer’s. She became an advocate for the disease and created the Pat Summitt Foundation. Providing resources to those affected by Alzheimer’s. There are also plans to open The Pat Summitt Alzheimer’s Clinic at the University of Tennessee sometime this winter. Summitt continued to coach through her early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnoses with the help of her assistant coaching team.
When Summitt began coaching, woman’s basketball had yet been recognized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Now millions watch the woman’s NCAA tournaments, being just as popular as men’s basketball. Coach isn’t the only role Summitt held, in 1973 she joined the U.S. national team — later playing for the U.S. in the 1976 Olympics. In 2000, she was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, making her only the fourth woman given the honor. In her career, 1,098 games were won and eight national championships.
Summitt’s son released this statement, “Since 2011, my mother has battled her toughest opponent, early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ and she did so with bravely fierce determination just as she did with every opponent she ever faced. Even though it’s incredibly difficult to come to terms that she is no longer with us, we can all find peace in knowing she no longer carries the heavy burden of this disease.”
To learn more about the Pat Summitt Foundation visit their website patsummitt.org.
Pat Summitt passed away on Tuesday, June 28, at the age of 64.