Pat Summitt, who broke barriers as a female basketball coach, leading the University of Tennessee Lady Vols to eight NCAA championships, has died following a hard-fought battle against early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type.’
This is absolutely heartbreaking. On June 28, Pat Summitt died at the age of 64 due to early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type.’ Pat, the winningest coach in NCAA history, male or female, was a Tennessee native who was battling the disease for years. Get the details here.
“She died peacefully this morning at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville surrounded by those who loved her most,” Pat’s son, Tyler, confirmed in a statement. “She’ll be remembered as the all-time winningest D-1 basketball coach in NCAA history, but she was more than a coach to so many — she was a hero and a mentor, especially to me, her family, her friends, her Tennessee Lady Volunteer staff and the 161 Vol student-athletes she coached during her 38-year tenure.”
Pat, who announced in August 2011 that she had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, recently took a turn for the worse. On June 26, a source said she was “struggling,” and those close to her were “preparing for the worst,” the Knoxville News Sentinel revealed. “I don’t think anybody knows whether she will last a day, a month, or a year,” the source continued.
The following statement was released just hours later, giving an update on her health: “On behalf of Pat Summitt’s family, we acknowledge the past few days have been difficult for Pat as her early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ progresses. She is surrounded by those who mean the most to her and during this time, we ask for prayers for Pat and her family and friends, as well as your utmost respect and privacy. Thank you.”
The update, given by Pat’s family, was handled by Erin Freeman of Ackermann Public Relations and posted to late coaches website, The Pat Summit Foundation — a site Pat herself, launched which is dedicated to informing people about the disease through research and education, as well as provides services to patients and caregivers. An Alzheimer’s Clinic is set to open in her name at the University of Tennessee medical center.
Pat was an innovator in the game of basketball, with her career and success serving as major proof. Coaching Tennessee to eight national championships in her 38 seasons, the brilliant coach racked up 1,098 victories, which was the most in D1 college basketball history for a men or women’s coach, ESPN highlighted. WOW.
Pat, who was named the NCAA coach of the year seven times in a row, even led the Lady Vols to 22 Final Fours in her four decades as a coach, the site mentions.
In April 2012, President Barack Obama, 54, announced Pat as the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and in same year, the sporting legend went on to become a recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. ESPN recognized her successes in July 2013 in a documentary titled, “Pat XO.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Summitt family at this time.