Lady Vols legend Pat Summitt dies at 64

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Lady Vols legend Pat Summitt has died.

Her son Tyler Summitt released a statement on her website early 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.

For 64 years, my mother first built her life upon a strong relationship with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Her foundation was also built upon love of her family and of her players, and love of the fundamentals of hard work which reflected her philosophy that ‘you win in life with people’.

She was the fourth of five children – Tommy, Charles, Kenneth and Linda – born to Richard and Hazel Head on June 14, 1952, in Clarksville, Tenn. Her tireless work ethic and her love of the game of basketball were created during the time she spent growing up on the family farm.

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.

A private service and burial will be held for my mother in Middle Tennessee. I ask that you respect the privacy of that time.
We are in the process of finalizing the details of a public celebration of her life which will take place in one of her favorite places, Thompson-Boling Arena. Once those details are finalized, we will share them with you.

Thank you.”

Summitt goes down as the winningest coach in college basketball history - a streak that spanned nearly four decades, leaving her with eight NCAA championships, 16 SEC titles and seven NCAA Coach of the Year awards.

Here are a few words from Geno Auriemma, the University of Connecticut woman's basketball head coach:

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Pat Summitt fast facts:

  • Education: University of Tennessee-Martin, B.S. in physical education, 1974; University of Tennessee-Knoxville, M.S. in physical education, 1975
  • Other Facts: University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball coach for 38 years (1974-2012) with an overall career record of 1,098-208.
  • At 1,098 wins, Summitt has more victories than any other male or female basketball coach in Division I history.
  • Coached the Lady Vols to eight NCAA Championships (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996-1998, 2007, 2008).
  • Had a 100% graduation rate for all student-athletes who completed their eligibility as Lady Vols.
  • Co-author of three books: "Raise the Roof" (1998), "Reach for the Summit" (1998) and "Sum It Up" (2013).
  • Timeline: 1974 - At age 21, she is named the head coach of the women's basketball team at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Summitt finishes her first season with 16 wins and eight losses.
  • 1976 - As a player, co-captains the U.S. women's basketball team to a silver medal at the Olympic Games in Montreal. This is also the initial year of women's basketball at the Olympics.
  • 1980 - Named the assistant coach of the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team but does not participate due to the U.S. boycott of the Moscow Olympics.
  • 1984 - Head coach of the U.S. women's basketball team that wins gold at the Olympics in Los Angeles.
  • June 5, 1999 - Inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, in its initial year.
  • October 13, 2000 - Enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
  • April 2000 - Named the Naismith Women's College Coach of the Century.
  • March 22, 2005 - With a win over Purdue 75-54, picks up her 880th coaching victory to surpass Dean Smith of North Carolina as the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history.
  • January 19, 2006 - Claims her 900th coaching win when the Lady Vols defeat Vanderbilt 80-68.
  • February 5, 2009 - The Lady Vols defeat Georgia 73-43 to net Summitt her 1,000th career coaching victory.
  • August 23, 2011 - Announces that she has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, "Alzheimer's Type."
  • November 27, 2011 - Launches the Pat Summitt Foundation, dedicated to finding a cure for Alzheimer's.
  • December 5, 2011 - Announced as the Sports Illustrated Sportswoman of the Year. The Sportsman of the Year is Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.
  • May 29, 2012 - Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama at the White House.
  • April 18, 2012 - After 38 years, steps down as the head coach of the University of Tennessee's women's basketball team at the end of the 2011-2012 season. According to the university, Summitt will remain involved in mentoring players and recruiting as the team's head coach emeritus.
  • October 4, 2012 - As part of a discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by Debby Jennings, the former University of Tennessee media relations director for women's sports, Summitt files an affidavit saying that she felt forced out as head coach of the Tennessee women's team after her diagnosis with early-onset Alzheimer's.
  • October 5, 2012 - In response to the affidavit she filed, Summitt releases a statement saying that it was 100% her decision to step down as head coach of the Tennessee women's team after her diagnosis with early-onset Alzheimer's.
  • November 22, 2013 - The Pat Summitt Plaza and a statue of the former coach are dedicated at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
  • January 14, 2015 - The Pat Summitt Foundation and The University of Tennessee Medical Center announce a partnership establishing the Pat Summitt Alzheimer's Clinic, which expands the Medical Center's existing Alzheimer's clinic.
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