Pat Summitt, the winningest coach in men’s and women’s college basketball history has passed away this morning. After a five year battle with dementia, Summit won eight national titles and recorded 1,098 victories in 38 seasons at the University of Tennessee. Summitt was also voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
Summitt was an icon in the basketball world and in the state of Tennessee. Summitt is the woman that put the University of Tennessee Woman’s basketball program on the map. Under her the program would flourish, not only winning championships, helping players learn how to play the sport of basketball and ultimately go on to professional careers. Players like Los Angeles Sparks Forward, Candace Parker, Dallas Wings Forward Glory Johnson, and countless others.
It was a joy watching Summitt coach the game of basketball. I remember sitting in front of the television yelling at the screen while watching the University of Tennessee vs. the University of Connecticut. Watching two titans of the game go at it. Seeing Summitt’s passion for the game of basketball and willingness to win really helped me gain an interest in women’s basketball.
As a child I wanted to know who was this female coach with the steel gaze? Seeing this woman and the impact she had on the University of Tennessee really speaks to how great of a coach and a person she was. Coach Summitt really helped this future sports journalist and broadcaster really developed a passion for the sport of basketball.
The sport of basketball lost a great ambassador today, and Summitt will truly be missed, but even in death she still has a big impact on the sports world and in the sport of basketball. Rest in Peace Ms. Summit.