Pat Summitt, winningest D1 college coach in history, dies - WSMV News 4

Pat Summitt, winningest D1 college coach in history, dies at age 64

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Tennessee head coach emeritus Pat Summitt smiles as a banner is raised in her honor before an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne) Tennessee head coach emeritus Pat Summitt smiles as a banner is raised in her honor before an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
KNOXVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Former University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt died early Tuesday morning. She was 64.

"It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the passing of my mother, Patricia Sue Head Summitt," said Tyler Summitt in a statement released by The Pat Summitt Foundation. "She died peacefully this morning surrounded by those who loved her most."

Summitt was diagnosed in 2011 with early onset dementia Alzheimer's type and coached the 2011-12 season before retiring to become head coach emeritus.

A private service and burial will be held in Middle Tennessee for Summitt. A celebration of her life will be held on July 14 at Thompson-Boling Arena. The event is open to the public.

Summitt died at the Sherill Hill Senior Living center in Knoxville.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has ordered that flags over the State Capitol and state office buildings be flown at half-staff in Summitt's memory through sunset on Thursday.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry also said the Metro Courthouse and the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge will be lit in orange on Tuesday in memory of Summitt.

"We have lost one of the greatest Tennesseans of all time. Anyone who knows Pat knows she was intensely focused on her mission, which in her case meant winning basketball games, but you also know that she never lost sight of the bigger picture in the midst of that," said Haslam in a statement. "She made certain that every woman that played for her graduated and was prepared for life after basketball. She also made certain that she was a part of the larger community. I have so many great memories of Pat, not only of her winning eight championships, but of her being the United Way chair in Knoxville and sitting down with me one-on-one to talk through what she had learned about how to accomplish goals."


ONLINE: Full statements from Summitt's family and colleagues


Summitt was head coach at Tennessee for 38 seasons, compiling 1,098 wins at the helm while leading the Lady Vols to eight national championships, including a three-peat in the 1990s and back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008, and a combined 32 Southeastern Conference regular season and tournament championships.

The win total is the most for any Division I basketball coach, men or women, at the time of her death.

"Nobody walked off a college basketball court victorious more times than Tennessee’s Pat Summitt. For four decades, she outworked her rivals, made winning an attitude, loved her players like family, and became a role model to millions of Americans, including our two daughters. Her unparalleled success includes never recording a losing season in 38 years of coaching‎, but also, and more importantly, a 100 percent graduation rate among her players who completed their athletic eligibility," said President Barack Obama in a statement. "Her legacy, however, is measured much more by the generations of young women and men who admired Pat’s intense competitiveness and character, and as a result found in themselves the confidence to practice hard, play harder, and live with courage on and off the court. As Pat once said in recalling her achievements, 'What I see are not the numbers. I see their faces.'"

"Pat Summitt was the most courageous person I’ve ever known in fighting this disease. She was determined to make a difference in bringing attention to the disease and she has done that," former Lady Vol Athletic Director Joan Cronin said in a statement. "As you know I worked with Pat for over 30 years. People would refer to me as her boss and I always remarked, Pat Summitt has no boss. She was the ultimate leader who led by example with strength, character and integrity but also with care. She loved her family and players with a fierceness equaled only by that renowned stare of hers."

Holly Warlick served as Pat Summitt's associate head coach and ran the team as needed during the 2011-12 season. Warlick became head coach with Summitt's retirement.

“Pat was my coach, my mentor, my colleague and a very dear friend. It is impossible to put into words how much she has meant to me and so many other individuals here at Tennessee and beyond," said Warlick in a statement. “She played a very significant role in molding me into the person I am, and I will forever be grateful for the genuine care, guidance and wisdom she unselfishly shared with me and so many others through the years. I’ll always treasure the laughter we shared, the stories we loved to tell and certainly those stories we embellished."

Tyler Summitt said his mom will be remembered for more than winning games on the court.

"She’ll be remembered as the all-time winningest D-1 basketball coach in NCAA history, but she was more than a coach to so many – she was a hero and a mentor, especially to me, her family, her friends, her Tennessee Lady Volunteer staff and the 161 Lady Vol student-athletes she coached during her 38-year tenure," said Tyler Summitt in a statement.

Summitt was born on June 14, 1952, in Clarksville to Hazel Albright and the late Richard Head. She was the fourth of five children.

Her tireless work ethic was developed early in life as she handled a variety of daily chores on her family’s farm, while never missing a day of school. She worked hard to keep up with her three older brothers, who taught her the game of basketball - a game that would later become a passion and profession for her.

After graduating from Cheatham County High in Ashland City in 1970, she went on to the University of Tennessee at Martin, leading its women's basketball team to two national tournaments.

She accepted the position as head coach at the University of Tennessee in 1974 at the age of 22 after graduation from UT-Martin.

Even after becoming the coach at UT, Summitt played for the U.S. team in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. She was co-captain of the team and helped it win the silver medal. She went on to coach the U.S. Junior National and U.S. National teams to multiple championships and medals, culminating with coaching the U.S. team to Olympic gold in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

In 2011, Summitt was diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's Type. After her retirement from coaching, she dedicated her life to raising money for Alzheimer's research.

She formed The Pat Summitt Foundation in November 2011 with the mission of making a difference in the fight against Alzheimer's disease by advancing research for a cure and providing education and caregiving services for patients and their families.

The Pat Summitt Alzheimer's Clinic is set to open later this year at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

"On behalf of the Board, I want to express our deep sorrow to Pat’s family on her passing. Alzheimer’s is such a horrific disease and as you know currently has no cure," said Jimmy Haslam, the advisory board chairman of The Pat Summitt Foundation. "Since Pat was diagnosed in 2011 she dedicated her life to this Foundation in the hope of helping find a cure. We will continue that work on her behalf and in fact will open The Pat Summitt Alzheimer’s Clinic at The University of Tennessee Medical Center by the end of this year."

Among her numerous awards and honors, Summitt received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama at the White House in 2012. That same year, she also received ESPN's Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

She was a charter member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999, enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in October 2000, named the Naismith Women's Coach of the Century in April 2000.

Summitt is survived by her mother, Hazel Albright Head; son, Ross “Tyler” Summitt (AnDe); sister, Linda; brothers, Tommy (Deloris), Charles (Mitzi) and Kenneth (Debbie).

A private service and burial for family and friends will be held in Middle Tennessee. A public service to celebrate her life will take place on July 14 at Thompson-Boling Arena, on the campus of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. For more information about the event, click here.

Memorial gifts may be made to The Pat Summitt Foundation by visiting www.patsummitt.org/donate.

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