I am really sad to hear about Pat Summitt passing away today. She was only 64 and her last five years were marred by Alzheimer’s, but nothing can erase the memories the rest of us have of her 38 years earning:
- The most wins in NCAA Division 1 history.
- She NEVER had a losing season in her 38 years at Tennessee.
- But I think an even greater achievement was her UNPRECEDENTED 100% Player graduation rate in every one of her 38 years at The University of Tennessee.
She was a great role model for me and my fellow female players when there weren’t many women coaches achieving the same success as men. In “Reach for the Summit,” Pat said, “Discipline helps you finish a job, and finishing is what separates excellent work from average work.” Powerful words that are true in life AND sports.
Coach Bobby Knight was a friend and fan of Pat Summit and was once quoted as giving her his biggest compliment, “She could have coached at any level, men’s or women’s.”
If you haven’t seen the ESPN Nine for IX about Pat Summit and how she brought women’s basketball to the place where it is today, do yourself a favor and go get it on iTunes or Amazon – both have it. You can also view it on the ESPN Sports Programming page by following this link. She also co-wrote 3 books with Sally Jenkins telling her history and giving her perspective on coaching: “Reach for the Summit,” “Raise the Roof” and “Sum It Up.” They are a few of the books I didn’t get as eBooks – they are actual real books on my shelf.
In the simple obituary there is a great quote: “This is one simple statement that Patricia Sue Head Summitt embodied, lived by and passed on to so many throughout her 64 years of life. She ‘won’ every day of her life because of the relationships she developed, nurtured and cherished. Relationships with her family and friends. Relationships with players, coaches, and fans. And most importantly, a strong relationship with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Alzheimer’s Disease is a brutal disease that robs people of their memories, their relationships and their dignity. I lost my Grandmother to early onset Alzheimer’s / Dementia
, the same disease that Pat Summitt died from. I hope there is a cure in my lifetime. Hmmm