Some of you may not know who she was.
In this house, she is a common name and has been for many years. My daughter started playing basketball many years ago and, initially, had dreams of
growing up and playing under Coach Summit. She was admired, loved and respected by many.
See, Coach Summit was a former olympic coach, author and head basketball coach for the University of Tennessee Lady Vol's Program from 1974-2012. She
was forced to retire in 2012 after having been diagnosed with Alzheimer's the year prior. As a testament to her strength and courage she stated
"There's not going to be any pity party, I'll see to that". Alzheimer's a ravishing disease that would leave her in her last days not on the court
which she loved but in an assisted living facility in Knoxville, TN.
In 1984 she was ranked as number 11 on a list of the 50 greatest coaches of all time in any sport and the only woman on the list. she maintained the
most wins of any basketball coach in NCAA history.
The Coach was known for her 'icy stare' when players were doing poorly and would rally and support like an inspired and proud parent when they played
up to their abilities. One of my daughters first coaches, although male, had attended the University of TN and took away some of Coach Summit's
coaching styles. Tough as nails. Practice at 5 am. Practice again after school. Strong work ethics and habits that Coach Summit learned working her
parent's dairy farm.
So, as some of you may not have ever heard of her, my daughter is saddened this morning at this news. Although she likely would have never played a
game under the coaching of her hero or looked over to her after making a 3 pointer and seeing the sparkle in the legend's eyes, it was her dream and
the dream of many young girls in this state. Coach Summit did a lot for young women in sports, the University of Tennessee Lady Vol's Basketball
program, inspiring players and coaches to step up and challenging folks everywhere that just because you are born in a small town with little
opportunity you can rise above and become anything that you want to be.
Pat Summit chose to be a legend and an inspiration.
For some of you, if you're interested in learning more about this amazing human. For those of you who detest College sports and the opportunities that
afforded to individuals who play, I'm sorry.
NPR Pat Summit
edit on 28-6-2016 by TNMockingbird because: (no reason given)