Supporters speak out in wake of Summitt's announcement - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Supporters speak out in wake of Summitt's announcement

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Photo: Al Behrman, Associated Press Photo: Al Behrman, Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WRCB) -- Pat Summitt isn't one to ask for help, but she'll surely an abundance of it if needed after disclosing her battle early onset dementia.

The all-time winningest coach in college basketball history is known for her intensity and competitiveness on the court, but also her generosity and compassion off it.

In the wake of her announcement Tuesday, support poured in from current and former players, fellow coaches, friends and UT alumni, as well as various individuals from every corner of the sports landscape.

Below are some of the statements released Tuesday in reaction to Summitt's diagnosis:

Tyler Summitt, Pat Summitt's son
"Pat Summitt is not only my mom, but also an incredible role model and mentor for me. It seems like she teaches me something new every day, and she is currently giving me one of the best life lessons of all: to have the courage to be open, honest, and face the truth.

UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek
"We will stand behind her and support her in every way possible. We look forward to her continued leadership as the Lady Vols head coach and I know that even through this adversity she will be an inspiration to all of us."

UT Vice Chancellor/Athletics Director Joan Cronan
"Pat Summitt is our head coach and she will continue to be. Life is an unknown and none of us has a crystal ball. But I do have a record of knowing what Pat Summitt stands for; excellence, strength, honesty and courage."

Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning
"I want to extend my deepest sympathies and prayers to Pat during this difficult personal time. Pat is a great friend, and I am pleased she will continue to lead her program. For many years, Pat has shaped countless lives through her sacrifice and dedication to Tennessee athletics. I ask others who admire her and who have been impacted by her work to join me in wishing Pat and her family every comfort as we respect their wishes for privacy."

UTC head coach Wes Moore
"She's been so great to me personally and to so many coaches throughout this profession, as well as just the game itself. But you think about how strong she is, and you think that maybe sometimes the Lord has things like this happen to people you know can handle it. She's certainly a battler, so if there's anyone to fight this off, she's someone that could."

Former Lady Vol player Brittany Jackson
"Pat Summitt is one of the strongest women I've ever been associated with, and I was lucky to have the privilege to play for her. I know the way she handles challenges on and off the court, and while this is a difficult challenge, she will face it head on. The Lady Vol family is a strong family, and she knows we will all have her back."

Former Lady Vol player Candace Parker:
"Coach Summitt you never cease to amaze me with your strength and courage. Whenever you face adversity you tackle it head on! True inspiration for me and one of the strongest women I know. I love you and we will handle this together as the Lady Vols always have, like FAMILY."

Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell (Former Tennessee Graduate Assistant)
"My thoughts and prayers are with Coach Summitt and her family. She's done so much for me personally and I wouldn't be where I am professionally without the contributions she has made in my life. She has been such an incredible example to me and she is someone I care for tremendously. It took a great amount of courage to address this issue but it doesn't surprise me. She's always been a very courageous woman. My family is praying for Coach Summitt and Tyler. I also know Mickie [DeMoss] and Holly [Warlick] along with the entire Tennessee will be there for Coach Summitt during this difficult time."

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban:
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for her as a person and as a coach, who's probably achieved as much as anyone in our profession," Saban said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. I hope that she can continue to affect young people and live a normal healthy life for many years to come. Certainly she has made a mark in our profession that few will be able to match or challenge, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for the way her players always compete and respond to her and have a tremendous amount of loyalty to her."

Georgia head coach Andy Landers (via GoDawgs247):
"Ours was a friendship born 36 years ago. Having known and respected Pat throughout that time, I'm saddened to hear this news. Pat has identified the problem and has a game plan to combat it. She certainly has the support of everyone. My thoughts and prayers are for her and her loved ones as she meets this challenge head-on with typical Pat Summitt competitiveness."

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