Pat Summit, legendary NCAA Basketball coach passes away

Those who had never even met Summitt talked about how she had inspired them to pursue sports and how she raised the profile of women's athletics. Summitts family plans a private funeral and burial but will hold a celebration of her life July 14 at Thompson-Boling Arena, where the court is named after the former coach. We always had great crowds for that and she was always willing to schedule teams that were lesser quality than hers.

If there is any moment that could describe Pat Summit as a coach and person, that would likely be it.

Pat Summitt did everything by the book, and she made sure her players did as well. "And she certainly did that". Doctors diagnosed her with Alzheimer's disease five years ago. Their first meeting was in December 1997 when the Lady Vols defeated A&M 105-81 at the Northern Lights Challenge in Anchorage, Alaska as the Aggies recorded the most points scored on the Lady Vols undefeated, national champion squad.

"She didn't let up!" The first trip happened in the second game of the 1984 season, resulting in a 70-62 loss for WKU in the Bowling Green Bank Invitational. She believed it was her job to help them get the most out of themselves.

As she once wrote: "I won 1,098 games, and eight national championships, and coached in four different decades".

"We just had this love for each other because of this one special lady", LSU women's head basketball coach Nikki Fargas said. I walked into the training room, and there was a crowd of people gathered around her and she was just talking away with them.

When she came to Tennessee, she started her coaching career before the NCAA was recognizing women's basketball as a sport. "There wasn't anything we didn't go through (together) in our family lives or coaching lives".

The impact she had on her players, the University of Tennessee, the Knoxville community, and the game of basketball will be felt for years to come.

"While she's gone, her legacy will go on forever", said Haave. "But I would think at some point some fledging Division I program - not just to make a slash - but figuring, 'We've tried all these other guys, let's try this woman if she's willing to do it.' I certainly expect at some point some Division III school to try and break that line".

"I was blessed to have the opportunity to have such an incredible role model and such an awesome mentor, sister and friend", she added.

"[Title IX] just opened the doors for a lot of players that wanted to play basketball", Summitt told NPR in 2013.

Summitt did not offer Simmons a scholarship then, but invited her to visit Tennessee.

  • Jo Lloyd