June 28 was a sad day for all in sports. Actually, it was a sad day for the world but especially for women, as the legendary college basketball coach Pat Summitt passed away.
Summitt racked up the most wins ever, male or female, by any head coach in D1 hoops. She was a fiery competitor who started coaching at just 22 years old (22!) at Tennessee and proceeded to light up the basketball world for some 38 years.
She was a Hall of Fame coach and what’s amazing about her career is that each and every athlete she coached, graduated! WOW. It seems to me that that’s unheard of these days in college sports.
No doubt, the Lady Vols community is in mourning. But as word spread of her death, the grief reaches far beyond those walls.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said, “Pat Summitt’s courage and tenacity on and off the court should be commended and emulated. Her commitment to excellence and developing young people leaves a powerful imprint on college basketball, higher education, and all individuals who have sought to excel in sports and life.”
Summitt was truly an icon. She has been to the White House and thrown out first-pitches at Yankees games. Her love and commitment to winning was definitely off the charts. But she obviously had a special place in her heart for the players she worked with. In this piece in SI, Summitt’s former player and WNBA star Candace Parker shares a hand-written recruiting letter with us. Tell me you can’t feel the passion in her words!
The world lost a legacy on Tuesday, RIP Pat Summitt. Thank you.
In conclusion, I will leave you with these words, summing up perfectly, a life well-lived and worthy of celebration. From statement issued by Tennessee:
“[Pat is] a global icon who transcended sports and spent her entire life making a difference in other people’s lives. Pat was so much more than a Hall of Fame coach; she was a mother, mentor, leader, friend, humanitarian and inspiration to so many,” the school said. “Her legacy will live on through the countless people she touched throughout her career.”