Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Today Tuesday April 24, 2012 the WOD is Pat Summitt born on June 14, 1952 in Clarksville, Tennessee. She is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history of either a men's or women's team in any division. You can not find another basketball coach who transformed and legitimized her sport more than Summitt. No other basketball coach whose legacy exceeds hers.
When Summitt was in high school, her family moved to nearby Henrietta, so she could play basketball in Cheatham County because Clarksville did not have a girls team. From there, Summitt went to University of Tennessee at Martin where she was a member of Chi Omegaand won All-American honors, playing for UT–Martin's first women's basketball coach, Nadine Gearin. In 1970, with the passage of Title IX still two years away, there were no athletic scholarships for women. Each of Summitt's brothers had gotten an athletic scholarship, but her parents had to pay her way to college. She later co-captained the first United States women's national basketball team as a player at the inaugural women's tournament at the 1976 Summer Olympics, winning the silver medal. Eight years later in 1984, she coached the U.S. women's team to an Olympic gold medal, becoming the first U.S. Olympian to win a basketball medal and coach a medal-winning team.
The winningest coach in college basketball history was diagnosed with early-stage dementia last year, but remained on the Lady Vols' sideline for one more season, leading the team to the Elite Eight.
You can make the argument -- without apology or hesitation -- that Pat Summitt is the greatest college basketball coach of our time. At the very least, she's in the starting five. And it's not because she won more games than any other Division I coach from A (Geno Auriemma) to K (Mike Krzyzewski) to W (John Wooden). Or that she has the same number of national championships as Krzyzewski and Adolph Rupp combined. Or that in the 31 years there's been an NCAA women's basketball tournament, her team has been in it every year -- and won eight times. Greatness isn't measured simply by victories. It is measured by the depth and width of a coach's impact on the sport itself, on the players, on the university they represent.
The winningest coach in college basketball history was diagnosed with early-stage dementia last year, but remained on the Lady Vols' sideline for one more season, leading the team to the Elite Eight. The legendary women's basketball coach stepped down Wednesday April 18th after 38 seasons at Tennessee. Summitt ends her brilliant career with a record of 1,098-208, winning eight national titles, and reaching 16 Final Fours. Her 1997-98 championship squad finished 39-0, and she led the 1984 US women's team to the Olympic gold medal.
Her son, Ross Tyler Summitt (b. 1990) has been hired as an assistant coach for the Marquette University women's team effective with the 2012–13 season. In what ESPN.com columnist Gene Wojciechowski called "a bittersweet irony", Tyler's hiring by Marquette was announced on the same day his mother announced her retirement.
"I've loved being the head coach at Tennessee for 38 years, but I recognize that the time has come to move into the future and to step into a new role," –Pat Summitt.