Pat Summitt

KNOXVILLE, TN - JULY 14:  Flower wreaths line the wall at Pat Summitt Plaza before the start of a ceremony to celebrate the life of former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt at the Thompson-Boling Arena on July 14, 2016 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Summitt died June 28 at the age of 64, five years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. (Photo by Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics - Pool/Getty Images)
Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics - Pool/Getty Images

Pat Summitt remembered for achievements on, off court

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Pat Summitt was remembered as a loving mother, a loyal friend and a tireless fighter as well as a champion coach Thursday in a public ceremony honoring the person who built the Tennessee women’s basketball dynasty.

“She was the epitome of what being great is all about,” said Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings, one of the dozens of former Lady Volunteers who paid respects to Summitt at a “Celebration of Life” ceremony at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Catchings later added that “this is not a goodbye, but until we meet again.”

The ceremony at Thompson-Boling Arena gave the public a chance to honor Summitt, who won eight national titles and a Division I record 1,098 games in her 38-year coaching tenure. A private funeral was held June 30, two days after Summitt died at the age of 64.

The list of speakers included recently retired quarterback Peyton Manning, a former Tennessee football star who called Summitt “someone who literally changed history.” Manning said the only pieces of sports memorabilia he keeps in his office are two basketballs Summitt signed for his children.

Manning discussed visiting Summitt late in her fight against Alzheimer’s disease, when she couldn’t remember Manning’s name. He talked about attending Summitt’s private funeral and hearing from former Lady Vols star Chamique Holdsclaw, who told him that even as Summitt’s memory faded, the coach still could point to the screen when one of Manning’s games or commercials aired on television and would say, “That’s my friend who comes to visit me. There goes my friend.”

“Pat Summitt didn’t just change the history of Tennessee basketball or made this arena known well beyond the borders of this state,” Manning said. “She changed the history of the sport she loved – and of sports in general. She almost singlehandedly made women’s sports relevant well beyond mothers, daughters, sisters and grandmothers.”

Thursday’s event attracted Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and a star-studded list of women’s basketball coaches that included Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma, who served as Summitt’s greatest rival. They were among several thousand spectators to honor Summitt at an arena where she orchestrated some of her greatest victories.

The stage for Thursday’s event included each of the Lady Vols’ eight national championship trophies plus a stool and whistle used by Summitt, who coached Tennessee from 1974-2012.

Fans withstood an afternoon downpour as they waited to enter the arena. The distance traveled by many of them underscored the way Summitt built Lady Vols basketball into a national brand.

Patti Stephen drove more than 700 miles from Teaneck, New Jersey, to pay her final respects. She packed a lunch in her car and arrived on campus more than seven hours before the start of the ceremony to make sure she got a seat in the arena.

“I’ve been a Lady Vol fan for a long time, and it felt like I just needed to be here,” said Stephen, who wore a T-shirt, hat and a set of bracelets bearing the message “We Back Pat.” `’It wouldn’t be the same on TV.”

Speakers included “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, current Tennessee coach Holly Warlick and former Lady Volunteers assistant Mickie DeMoss as well as Summitt’s son, Tyler Summitt.

“For or all of us that in some way have been influenced by Pat Summitt, she wouldn’t just want us to remember her example,” Tyler Summitt said. “She would want us to go out and follow it. So let’s not just celebrate her legacy. Let’s carry it on.”

The ceremony had plenty of somber moments. A videotape that aired during the event showed Warlick and former Lady Vols guard Michelle Brooke-Marciniak in tears as they described what Summitt had meant to them. The event opened with a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

“Tyler told me that’s his mom’s favorite song,” Roberts said. “How appropriate. Two words that describe her (so well): Amazing. Grace.”

But it also included some laughter.

Shelley Sexton-Collier, who played on Tennessee’s 1987 national championship team, joked that she thought she was playing for Tennessee’s cross country team because Summitt made them run so often. Warlick talked about how Summitt loved to drive fast and talk her way out of speeding tickets.

Warlick also had the crowd break into a rendition of “Rocky Top” as the arena’s video screens showed a tape of Summitt singing that song while wearing a cheerleader uniform before a Tennessee men’s basketball game.

The list of women’s basketball coaches at the ceremony featured Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer, North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell, South Carolina’s Dawn Staley, Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw, Baylor’s Kim Mulkey, Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer, former Georgia coach Andy Landers and former Texas coach Jody Conradt among others. Also in attendance were current SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, former SEC commissioners Mike Slive and Roy Kramer, Tennessee football coach Butch Jones, Duke football coach David Cutcliffe and former Tennessee football coaches Phillip Fulmer and Johnny Majors.

They came to honor everything Summitt achieved off the court as well as on it.

“The real accomplishment of Pat’s life is this – you won 1,098 games and eight national championships, and what people talk about in the end is it’s not about how much you win but how much you did for others,” said DeMoss, now an LSU assistant.

Pat Summitt to remain head coach emeritus at Tennessee

Pat Summitt (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)

When Pat Summitt retired as head coach at Tennessee in April 2012, the school named her head coach emeritus and allowed her to remain a part of the women’s program as her health would allow. The question asked by some was how long would Summitt would be allowed to remain in that new position.

According to the Associated Press, Summitt will remain head coach emeritus and this will be the case for as long as she likes. This was learned through the AP’s filing of a public records request.

“I would like to emphasize that I fully intend to continue working as head coach emeritus, mentoring and teaching life skills to our players, and I will continue my active role as a spokesperson in the fight against Alzheimer’s through the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund,” Summitt said in 2012 at the time of her retirement as head coach.

“If anyone asks, you can find me observing practice or in my office. Coaching is the great passion of my life, and the job to me has always been an opportunity to work with our student-athletes and help them discover what they want. I will continue to make them my passion. I love our players and my fellow coaches, and that’s not going to change.”

Holly Warlick will begin her third season as head coach this fall, and in Warlick’s first two seasons the Lady Volunteers have won 27 and 29 games, respectively. Tennessee lost to Maryland in the Sweet 16 last season.

Pat Summitt’s son, Tyler, to be hired as women’s head coach at Louisiana Tech

Tyler Summitt
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Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt ended her legendary career in 2012. Two years later, her son, Tyler, will begin his college coaching career as he is set to be hired as the Louisiana Tech women’s head coach, the school announced on Tuesday afternoon.

Neither the school nor Summitt commented on the hiring in a press release issued by the school on Tuesday. An introductory press conference is set for noon on Wednesday.

Summitt is only 23-years old, but grew up around his mother and her Tennessee program before enrolling in the university and playing on the men’s basketball team for two seasons. Pat Summitt won 1,098 games and eight National Titles and was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. She was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s before the start of the 2011-2012 season. She retired that April.

Tyler Summitt spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Marquette’s women’s team. He’s taking over a program with a rich tradition, though, the Lady Techsters have dealt with back-to-back losing seasons.

Louisiana Tech finished 12-20 (5-11 Conference USA) this past season. Teresa Weatherspoon was fired as head coach on March 15.

Former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt to be enshrined into Lady Vols Hall of Fame

Pat Summitt
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Pat Summitt was the defining face of the Tennessee basketball program for nearly four decades and she was rewarded Friday with enshrinement into the Lady Vols Hall of Fame.

The announcement of Summitt’s enshrinement means the longtime head women’s basketball coach will bypass typical regulations which dictate that athletes are eligible for the honor 10 years after graduation and administrators are eligible five years after their last service to the school.

But it comes as no surprise for a woman who won 1098 games in Tennessee orange and was one of the most prominent figures in women’s collegiate athletics for decades.

She joins former Tennessee basketball player Michelle Marciniak, track athlete Jane Haist, and golfer Young-A Yang Read in the 2012 class.

Summitt announced her retirement in April, now becoming the head coach emeritus at Tennessee. She left the school after 38 seasons and nine national championships. She is the winningest coach in the history of men’s and women’s basketball.

Now under new head coach Holly Warlick, the Lady Vols open their season against Chattanooga on Nov. 9.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Tennessee Titans to honor former UT women’s coach Pat Summitt before game Sunday

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The NFL’s Tennessee Titans will recognize former Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt as an honorary “12th Titan” before the team kicks off its season opener against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

In addition, Titans’ owner Bud Adams will donate $25,000 to The Pat Summitt Foundation, which works to raise awareness and help to find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.

“I am very thankful for the generous support of Mr. Bud Adams and the Tennessee Titans’ franchise,” Summitt said in a release. “My son, Tyler and I have enjoyed attending Tennessee Titans games and cheering for our home state football team. I am humbled and excited that the Tennessee Titans have joined our team in fighting Alzheimer’s disease through the The Pat Summitt Foundation.”

Summitt retired in April after 38 seasons with the Lady Vols, months after revealing that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.

During her time with the team, Tennessee won eight national championships and 32 SEC tournament and regular season championships.

She amassed 1,098 wins in her career, making her the winningest coach in men’s or women’s NCAA basketball history.

Though she stepped down from her role as head coach, she remains head coach emeritus.

The Titans kick off against New England at 1 p.m. in Nashville.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

SEC, member schools donate $100,000 to Pat Summitt fund for Alzheimer’s research


The Southeastern Conference and its member schools have come together to donate $100,000 to Pat Summitt’s Foundation Fund, which was set up to raise money for research to fight Alzheimer’s disease.

Summitt stepped down as the head coach of Tennessee’s women’s basketball team and assumed the role of head coach emeritus in April. She coached in Knoxville for 38 years.

She revealed in August that she has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia.

Over the course of her career, she won eight national championships and qualified for the Final Four 18 times.

Since her retirement, she has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civilian.

In addition, women’s coaches in the SEC voted unanimously to continue “We Back Pat Week,” which raises awareness for Summitt’s cause.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_