For four decades, the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball program has been among the nation's elite and has helped change the national perception of women's college basketball.
That’s thanks in large part to Pat Summitt, head coach emeritus, who won eight NCAA Championships and 32 combined Southeastern Conference titles during her 38 years as the team’s head coach. Her career won-lost record was an amazing 1,098-208.
Under Summitt’s watch, Tennessee made an unprecedented 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament and produced 12 Olympians, 34 WNBA players, 21 WBCA/Kodak/State Farm All-Americans, and 39 All-SEC players. Along with the success on the court, Summitt's student-athletes had tremendous productivity in the classroom. Coach Summitt held a 100 percent graduation rate for all Lady Vols who completed their eligibility at Tennessee.
On Aug. 23, 2011, Summitt showed her courage off the court as she revealed that she had been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type at age 59. The "We Back Pat" campaign sprang up overnight and went viral in the social media world following her announcement.
In November 2011, Summitt and her son, Tyler announced the formation of her foundation, The Pat Summitt Foundation, a grant making foundation focused on Alzheimer’s research, support services for patients and families, and education and awareness of the disease.
Throughout her career, Summitt has received hundreds of honors. She received a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. She won the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame’s 2012 Tennessean of the Year and the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. The Arthur Ashe Courage Award was presented to her by former Vol and current NFL quarterback Peyton Manning after a poignant video tribute at the 2012 ESPYs in Los Angeles.
The Sporting News named her one of the 50 Greatest Coaches of All-Time. She has been inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the FIBA Hall of Fame, and the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame. She was Sports Illustrated’s 2011 Sportswoman of the Year.
The NCAA honored her legacy, and that of UCLA men’s basketball coaching great John Wooden, by naming a room in its new Myles Brand headquarters building the Summitt-Wooden Room.
To learn more about The Pat Summitt Foundation please click here.