Legendary Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt dies at 64
College basketball's all-time wins leader collected 1,098 victories and eight national titles
Former Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt has died, her son and her website said on Tuesday morning -- shortly after her family publicly asked for prayers and acknowledged her health had taken a bad turn.
She was 64 years old.
"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," Tyler Summitt 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."
A private funeral and burial will be held in Middle Tennessee, Tyler Summitt said. A public memorial service is being planned for Thompson-Boling Arena, where the court -- "The Summitt" -- is named in her honor.
Summitt announced in August 2011 that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer retired at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season after coaching at Tennessee for 38 years. She won a Division I record 1,098 games and eight national championships while guiding the Lady Vols to 22 Final Fours and 16 SEC titles. She was NCAA Coach of the Year seven times.
"Pat Summitt is synonymous with Tennessee, but she truly is a global icon who transcended sports and spent her entire life making a difference in other peoples' lives," said Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart. "She was a genuine, humble leader who focused on helping people achieve more than they thought they were capable of accomplishing. Pat was so much more than a Hall of Fame coach; she was a mother, mentor, leader, friend, humanitarian and inspiration to so many. Her legacy will live on through the countless people she touched throughout her career."
Summitt had been living in a retirement center since January. Around 30 former Lady Vols -- including WNBA stars Candace Parker and Tamika Catchings -- flew to Knoxville over the weekend to see Summitt one last time. Former Tennessee assistant Mickie DeMos was also in Knoxville.
"Pat Summitt saw things in people that they did not see in themselves," former Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl, now the coach at Auburn, said early Monday on an SEC teleconference. "Pat Summitt never apologized to any one of her players for expecting the most out of them, demanding it and getting it. ... She was a great friend. She was as loyal as they came. If you were a friend of Pat Summitt's, she was always there for you. She's a great mother, and she had the ability to get the most out of her ladies. As much as anybody, she was the most accomplished person in her field and the humblest woman I know. She was the best at what she did, but she was always reading, writing, asking questions, watching tape, watching the Olympics, watching European basketball. She wanted to be on the cutting edge and was always trying to get better."
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