Pat Summitt, a Hall of Fame, former Coach of the Year and the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history, has died at 64 after a battle with early onset dementia.
Summitt, who coached the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers for 38 seasons and won 8 national titles along with 1,098 wins – the most in NCAA history for both men’s and women’s basketball, died Tuesday in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Summitt was diagnosed with early onset dementia in 2011 and her declining health forced her to step down from her position a year later.
During her illustrious career as a coach, she served as one of the great ambassadors of women’s basketball.
As a player, Summit won the silver medal with Team USA at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.
In 2012, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Summitt, who is survived by her son, Tyler, 26, wrote on his mother’s website: “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.”
The director of Women’s Athletics at University of Tennessee, Joan Cronin, wrote on Summitt’s website: "There will never be another Pat Summitt. She belongs to the ages now and we are sad but so fortunate to have called her a colleague and friend."
Her death has impacted the sporting world with tributes flooding in on social media.
The @SEC mourns the loss of Pat Summitt. A true champion in every sense of the word.— SEC (@SEC) June 28, 2016
This is a sad day in the basketball community. Thank you Pat Summitt for everything you've done for our game.— Lindsey Harding (@Lindsey_Harding) June 28, 2016
RIP Pat Summitt 🙏🏾 2016 is taking to many of our greats 😔 https://t.co/IHRvkUT6Mb— Reggie Bush (@ReggieBush) June 28, 2016