Legendary Coach Pat Summitt Dead at 65

By Amber Lee
Image via Zimbio
Image via Zimbio

Former University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, who amassed more than 1,000 career wins at the school and won eight nationl championships there, has died at age 64. The news was first announced via the Pat Summit Foundation’s Twitter account.

Summitt stepped down as coach of the Lady Vols in 2012 after she was diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. Even after stepping down, though, Summitt remained involved with the program, holding the title of head coach emeritus.

Summitt’s son, Ross “Tyler” Summitt, issued the following statement Tuesday morning:

“It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the passing of my mother, Patricia Sue Head Summitt.

She died peacefully this morning at Sherrill Hill 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. 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.

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.

We will all miss her immensely.”

She had coached the team for 38 seasons, amassing 1,098 wins — which is more than any other Division I coach. She was the NCAA’s coach of the year seven times, played for the U.S. Olympic team in 1976 in the first year of Olympic women’s basketball as the team took home a silver medal.