Former Tennessee women’s basketball coach, Pat Summitt, has died at the age of 64. According to a statement from the Pat Summitt Foundation, she died early Tuesday morning following a battle with early onset dementia, “Alzheimer’s Type.”
Summitt’s son, Tyler Summitt, said in a statement, “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.”
An online obituary for Summitt said after she graduated from Cheatham County High in Ashland City in 1970, she went on to the University of Tennessee-Martin, earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1974 and led the school’s women’s basketball team to two national championship tournaments.
Shortly after she graduated from college, Summitt accepted a position at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville as the head coach of the women’s basketball team at the age of 22.
She guided the Lady Volunteers to eight NCAA championships; 32 combined Southeastern Conference titles; and became the winningest NCAA D-1 basketball coach of all time on March 22, 2005. She was named the NCAA Coach of the Year seven times and the Naismith Coach of the Century in 2000.
As a player, Summitt was the co-captain of the 1976 U.S. women’s team and earned a silver medal during the Olympic Games in Montreal. Summitt went on to coach the U.S. Junior National and U.S. National teams to multiple championships and medals, culminating with a run as head coach of the 1984 U.S. Women’s Olympic team, leading them to the gold medal during the XXIII Olympiad in Los Angeles.
A public service will be held in Thompson-Boling Arena at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Details will be given at a later date.