The world knew Coach Pat Summitt as the winningest basketball coach of all time. To the members of the UT family, she was that and much, much more. She was a coach, a teacher, a role model, a co-worker, and a friend.
“It is a very sad day on Rocky Top. Volunteers around the world are mourning the loss of the legendary Pat Summitt,” Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said. “Pat was the greatest coach of all time; her fierce spirit will live on through her players, and through all of us who were inspired by her on a daily basis. Our sincerest sympathies go out to Tyler and all her family and friends.”
Summitt earned a bachelor’s degree from UT Martin and a master’s degree from UT Knoxville.
During her thirty-eight years as head coach, Summitt led the Lady Vols to eight NCAA championships and thirty-two combined Southeastern Conference titles. But as much as she pushed her players to win on the court, she also insisted on excellence in the classroom. Every Lady Vol who completed her eligibility at Tennessee under Summitt’s watch graduated, and the coach remained a mentor to her former players as they went on to careers in basketball and other ventures.
For the past five years, Summitt battled her most fierce opponent ever—Alzheimer’s disease. With strength and grace, she shared her struggle with the world, raising awareness and resources to combat the disease.
As a testament to her accomplishments, the basketball court in Thompson-Boling Arena is named “The Summitt.” Pat Summitt Plaza, which features a bronze statue of Summitt, sits at the corner of Lake Loudoun Boulevard and Phillip Fulmer Way, the campus’s most-used entrance.
Words fail to express how proud we are that Pat Summitt’s name will forever be linked to the University of Tennessee. She is, and always will be, a Volunteer.
A Celebration of Life Service honoring the life of Pat Summitt will be open to the public and held on Thursday, July 14 at 7:00 p.m. This will take place in Thompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus. More details will be provided at a later date.