It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of Pat Summitt, the legendary coach of the Tennessee Volunteers women’s basketball team, and the all-time leader in wins in Division 1 history.
Summitt had been battling Alzheimer’s since 2011, before she stepped down as coach in 2012, amassing a stunning 1,098 victories, more than any men’s or women’s college coach.
Her son, Tyler Summitt, issued a statement Tuesday morning saying his mother died peacefully at Sherrill Hills Senior Living in Knoxville surrounded by those who loved her most.
“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,” Tyler Summitt said. “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.”
Tyler Summitt said a private funeral and burial will be held in Middle Tennessee and asked that the family’s privacy be respected. A public memorial service is being planned for Thompson-Boling Arena.
Named the NCAA coach of the year seven times, Summitt led the Lady Vols to 22 Final Fours (18 NCAA, 4 AIAW) in her nearly four decades as coach.
“Pat Summitt is synonymous with Tennessee, but she truly is a global icon who transcended sports and spent her entire life making a difference in other peoples’ lives,” said Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart in a statement. “She was a genuine, humble leader who focused on helping people achieve more than they thought they were capable of accomplishing. Pat was so much more than a Hall of Fame coach; she was a mother, mentor, leader, friend, humanitarian and inspiration to so many. Her legacy will live on through the countless people she touched throughout her career.”
Of her eight national championships, she won three straight from 1996 to ’98. Her teams won 16 Southeastern Conference tournament titles and made an unprecedented 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament.
“I miss her and it’s a very sad day. When you hear her former players talk about her and the impact she had on them as players and people it speaks volumes,” former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning said. “She loved everything about Tennessee. Everyone in the state was proud to have her as an ambassador. She had a huge impact on everyone she met. I always felt better every time I was around her.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with Summitt’s entire family during this trying time!