June 28, 2016 @ 12:00 PM
Summitt was more than just a coach, however, she was a model of excellence, perseverance and discipline in the sports community and American society. She began coaching the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers when she was 22 years old in 1974, earning $250 a week and handling the team van duties, as women’s basketball was not yet an NCAA-sanctioned sport.
In 2000, she was awarded the Naismith Coach of the Century Award, and President Barack Obama would award her the coveted Medal of Freedom in 2012, adding to her legend as one of the most important sports voices in U.S. history.
Tyler Summitt, Pat’s 25-year-old son and a college basketball coach himself, revealed in a statement that his mother’s declining health (she stepped down from the Tennessee head coaching position in 2012 while she battled ‘Alzheimer’s Type’ dementia) is what ultimately led to her passing.
She died peacefully this morning at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville surrounded by those who loved her most. Since 2011, my mother had 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.
Legendary College Basketball Coach Pat Summitt Has Died At 64