Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt announced in a statement today that she will be stepping down from her position after an incredible 38 years, which spawned a 1098-208 record and 8 national championships, as well as 18 Final Fours. The news comes after Summitt was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease last year.
Alzheimer's is a fatal disease that attacks and destroys brain cells, which leads to loss of memory and other brain functions. Currently, there is no cure. But Summitt is hopeful for the future and still plans to have a role in her players' lives.
"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," Summitt said. "I support (Assistant Head Coach) Holly Warlick being named the next head coach, and I want to help ensure the stability of the program going forward. I would like to emphasize that I fully intend to continue working as head coach emeritus, mentoring and teaching life skills to our players, and I will continue my active role as a spokesperson in the fight against Alzheimer's through the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund."
She went on to say, "If anyone asks, you can find me observing practice or in my office. Coaching is the great passion of my life, and the job to me has always been an opportunity to work with our student-athletes and help them discover what they want. I will continue to make them my passion. I love our players and my fellow coaches, and that's not going to change."
During Summitt's reign, Tennessee has earned a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament 21 times and is the only school to play in all 32 Tournaments.
#patsummit is stepping down is so sad. Alzheimer's is so devastating.Hearing
#PatSummit. Her legacy will go beyond women's basketball. A class act...we are wishing her the best.Hats off today to the incomparable