Basketball Legend Pat Summitt passes away at 64
Early this morning, Pat Summitt, the Tennessee Lady Volunteers head coach that revolutionized college basketball, passed away after a battle with early onset dementia.
Summitt, 64, was one of the sport’s most winningest and iconic figures ever, and her legacy will-be long-lasting. Mentioned alongside coaches like Vince Lombardi, Red Auerbach, and Don Shula, Summitt worked exclusively with another segment of players that CoachUp is intimately passionate about: the student-athlete.
According to ESPN, Summitt’s graduation rate was 100% — that is not a typo. Not only did she prepare her team on the court, but she motivated her players to be the best versions of themselves off of it. We’ve long discussed the rarity of going professional and Summitt always focused on preparing her athletes for life after sports.
Of course, her basketball-related achievements are jaw-dropping as well: Ready, take a deep breath — the list is a doozy: Summitt is an 8x national champion, 16x SEC champion, and reached the Final Four an outstanding 18x. Summitt’s 1,098 wins rank her first all-time in the woman’s game and boasts an 84% win rate. The only coach with more wins than Summitt on the men’s side is Harry Statham, the current coach for McKendree, who has 1,101 wins.
Summitt is an Olympic Gold Medal winner from 1984, was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama in 2012. ESPN’s Hannah Storm tweeted that every Lady Vol that played under her from 1976-2011 made it to at least one Final Four.
Her death marks a sad occasion in NCAA Basketball, but Summitt deserves to be celebrated for her wonderful achievements and advancements in the sport. Summitt is one of the all-time greatest coaches, mentors, and friends — we could all do a little better to work, teach, and learn like she did.
Pat Summitt, 1952-2016