KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WRCB) -- With word that Pat Summitt was stepping down after 38 seasons as the head of Tennessee women's basketball, colleagues, former players and friends spent time remembering the iconic coach.
Here is a sample of what some of those who knew Summitt best had to say about Wednesday's decision:
"2day TNans should recognize the wonderful gift .@PatSummitt has given us. Produced champs on/off the court; done so much 4 TN/UT.#WeBackPat"
-- Gov. Bill Haslam
"I just shed a tear! She is more than just a great coach! She's a great mother, role model, and overall a great person! #WeBackPat"
-- former Vol basketball player Cameron Tatum
"Even though #PatSummitt is stepping down as head coach...she will remain a strong presence for the Lady Vols. Much respect and love. XO"
-- ABC Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts
"Wish Pat Summitt all THE BEST - A GOLIATH in coaching & LIFE. #HALLOFFAMESOLIDGOLD"
-- ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale
"4 yrs removed from UT I still hear "PARKER REBOUND!" in my head during games...Thanks Coach Pat, I love you! #OnceALadyVolAlwaysALadyVol"
-- former Lady Vol Candace Parker
"#PatSummitt a fighter, a winner, and the ultimate champion.. There will never be another #MuchLovePat!"
-- former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin
"Love and s/o to the AMAZING Pat Summitt! What she did for the game will live forever. Changed lives daily. She'll be missed. #gamechanger"
-- NBA superstar LeBron James
"Pat Summitt is truly a special person. I am so greatful for you in my like and everything you have taught me #thegreatest #trulyblessed"
-- former Lady Vol Nikki McCray
"PAT SUMMIT....THE GAME WON'T BE THE SAME. THANKS FOR BEING THE ULTIMATE COMPETITOR!!!"
-- South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley
"Shoutout to one of the best coaches to ever coach in any sport let alone women's basketball. Pat Summitt will always be a #legend and #VFL."
-- former Tennessee and Baylor School offensive lineman Jacques McClendon
"Legend, Icon, Inspiration. Pat Summitt. Wishing you well. #Summitt #ladyvols"
-- ESPN anchor Linda Cohn
"Thank You Pat Summitt! #fb"
-- former Lady Vol and ESPN women's basketball analyst Kara Lawson
Statements from others around the country:
"Pat's vision for the game of women's basketball and her relentless drive pushed the game to a new level and made it possible for the rest of us to accomplish what we did," Auriemma said. "In her new role, I'm sure she will continue to make significant impacts to the University of Tennessee and to the game of women's basketball as a whole."
-- UConn head coach Geno Auriemma
"Coach Summitt is the reason I am a coach and why I am here (at LSU) today. She gave me an opportunity to go into coaching as a graduate assistant in 1998. More importantly, she has always been there for me since I was 18 years old. She's my mentor, my friend and a part of my family and that will last forever. She has been a pioneer in opening doors for women in so many areas. Those who have played or coached for Coach Summitt always take a part of her with us wherever we go in our respective jobs. I've taken her with me in teaching young ladies to be the very best they can be. Her influence on this game, the University of Tennessee and the Southeastern Conference will always be impactful. That will continue in any role she plays."
-- former Lady Vol and current LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell
"Words cannot adequately describe the extraordinary career that Pat Summitt has had in the world of basketball. She is a model of class and courage, and I don't think that enough can be said for just how much Pat has accomplished in building and elevating women's basketball to its current heights. Pat is Tennessee Basketball.
"I am very happy that Pat will be continuing her work with Tennessee as Head Coach Emeritus, and I will miss seeing her on the sidelines on game day.
"This will be a great opportunity for Holly, Tennessee Basketball is in great hands with her. Holly has learned from the absolute best, and I wish her the best of luck."
-- Stanford head coach Tara Vanderveer
"Through the dedication and selflessness Pat Summitt has shown at the University of Tennessee, she has made an immeasurable impact both on and off the basketball court during her Hall of Fame career. The strength and perseverance that have defined her as a coach, mentor and role model were never more visible than through the incredible courage she displayed this past season. Without question, Pat is one of the strongest people I know. It is no surprise that she has not backed down from a challenge.
"I have always had a great deal of respect and admiration for Pat, and I am truly honored to call her a friend. I look forward to watching her continue to inspire others in her new role at the University of Tennessee."
-- Peyton Manning
"While I'm certainly sad to hear that Pat is stepping down as the head coach at the University of Tennessee, I think today is really a time to celebrate Pat's amazing accomplishments and everything she has done to help bring the sport of women's basketball to where it is today. The word 'legend' can sometimes be overused in sports, but in Pat's case, that's exactly what she is. Pat has set the bar so high for all of us, not only with the success her teams have enjoyed on the court, but the way she has carried herself off the court, with such class, dignity and grace."
-- Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw
"It just hits me in my heart, it really does. I feel so connected to Pat, as we've been together so long on the same journey as coaches and friends. This is a really sad day for me. I love Pat so much, but this isn't the way her amazing career should end."
-- Rutgers head coach Vivian Stringer
"I want to thank Pat Summitt for all she has done for the sport of women's basketball. Her 1,098 wins, eight national titles and numerous conference titles are just a few of her staggering statistics and accomplishments. What I think is more important about Pat Summitt than her impressive statistics, is the millions of people she has and continues to inspire. She motivated so many people during her 38 years to accomplish their dreams. Words can never express adequately how much gratitude I personally have for Coach Summitt. I am living a dream, coaching at Kentucky, because she gave me an opportunity to learn from her many years ago. Jenna and I will continue to support the Pat Summitt Foundation and Coach Summitt's effort to bring awareness to this disease that she is so courageously fighting. I wish Coach Summitt nothing but the very best as she starts the next chapter in her very impactful life. I love her very much."
-- Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell
"As I've said many times, Pat Summitt is a pioneer in basketball. Her amazing career accomplishments are among an elite group of leaders. Very few people leave a lasting legacy in their chosen professions and Coach Summitt has done just that at the University of Tennessee and in women's basketball. She raised the level of commitment, pride and notoriety of her sport. I am honored to call her a friend."
-- Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski
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