Legendary women’s basketball coach Pat Summit has died. She was 64.
Summit, who is the winningest coach in Division ! college basketball history, spent 38-years as the head coach at Tennessee. She’s also credited with changing the women’s game to national prominence.
Every one of her players that she coached graduated college. With her roaming the sidelines, the Lady Vols won eight national championships and made Tennessee more than just a football school.
Tyler Summit, who resigned earlier this year from being the Louisiana Tech women’s basketball coach, said that his mother died peacefully at the Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville. Tyler was her only child after she had six miscarriages.
“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,” he said. “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.”
In the 1980s and 1990s, she won six national championships in a 12-year span. Tennessee was the only team she ever coached and had a 1,098-208 record during her 38-years, including 18 Final Four appearances.
In 2011, she was diagnosed with the early onset dementia, but coached one final season. When she retired and passed the reigns to Holly Warlick, the current Volunteers head coach, Summit’s eight national championships were second to legendary UCLA head coach John Wooden.
Connecticut Huskies Geno Auriemma has since won his 11th national championship as the 62-year-old won his 11th in April. The Huskies have won four straight national championships.
“Pat’s vision for the game of women’s basketball and her relentless drive pushed the game to a new level and made it possibly for the rest of us to accomplish what we did,” he said at the time of her retirement.
She said when she retired that it was a “great ride.”