The Women of Alzheimer’s Series – The gutsy Pat Summitt

In the history of men’s and women’s college basketball there is only one coach with more victories than anyone else. On August 22, 2011 both the college world and the sport’s world were shocked to learn that the legendary Pat Summitt, head basketball coach at the University of Tennessee publicly announced that she has been diagnosed with early onset dementia/Alzheimer’s at age 59.

Pat Summitt’s life is one of incredible accomplishments. She grew up on a dairy, became head coach for the Lady Vols at age 22 in 1974, co-captain for a silver at the 1976 Olympics, and has a 64-3 record in International games coached.

Over a 37 year career, the Lady Vols, have amassed an impressive score of 1,071-199, 8 NCAA titles and 31 Southeastern conferences.

To see Pat Summitt during a game is to watch intensity and ferocity of commitment to her players and the game emanate from her famous steely blue eyes. Off the court her players praise her family interest and support in their lives. Even in the days before Title 9 provided equal federal funding for women’s sports, Pat washed uniforms and drove the team van to the games.

Pat admits asking the “why me” question, but decided not to linger but to bring her fighting spirit and her support team as she gets ready to coach her 38th season.

As with all things Pat Summitt does, she’s gutsy, she’s there to compete and she’s in the game to win. Bravo!