Pat Summitt, legendary Lady Vols coach, dies at 64 - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Pat Summitt, legendary Lady Vols coach, dies at 64

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Legendary Lady Vols basketball Coach Pat Summitt has died at the age of 64.

Summitt's battle with early onset Alzheimer's disease ended Tuesday.

Summitt served as head coach of women's basketball at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for 38 seasons. She was recognized as the "winningest basketball coach in NCAA history" for both men's and women's Division I teams.

READ MORE | Celebration of Life service for Pat Summitt planned for July 14

The University of Tennessee paid tribute to Summitt's "relentless pursuit of excellence" and lasting legacy: eight national championships, a 100 percent graduation rate and 1,098 total wins.

"Pat's legend transcends numbers," the university said. "It transcends sport, gender and all things quantitative."

Following Summitt's announcement in August 2011 that she had been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, the legendary coach set up a foundation aimed at advancing a cure for the disease.

"I thought I would be remembered for winning basketball games, but I hope I'm remembered for making a difference in this disease," she once said, according to The Pat Summitt Foundation.

The foundation expressed "deep sorrow" over Summitt's passing and pledged to continue her mission in hopes of finding a cure.

READ MORE | Pat Summitt: A look back at her life and career

"There are not many icons that you come in contact with in your lifetime and we all were fortunate to know one, Pat Summitt," it said in a statement. "Her work ethic, her dedication to the young women she coached, and her integrity in everything she did will never be equalled.

"She set the standard for excellence in academics, athletics and life. She was a role model and an inspiration and we are all enriched for having known her."

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker said Summitt's impact on her players, the university and game of basketball will be felt for years to come. "Basketball has lost a legend, and Tennessee has lost one of its most beloved daughters," Corker said in a statement.

Patricia Sue Head Summitt was born on June 14, 1952 in Clarksville, Tennessee — the fourth of five children on her family's farm. After high school, she attended the University of Tennessee—Martin, where she led the women's basketball team to two national championship tournaments before graduating in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in physical education.

She accepted a position as head coach of women's basketball at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville shortly after graduating, at the age of 22.

Beyond her tenure at UT-Knoxville, Summitt was co-captain of the U.S. women's team and earned a silver medal at the Montreal Olympics. As head coach she later led the 1984 U.S. Women's Olympic Team to a gold medal in Los Angeles.

In addition to her son Tyler, Summitt is survived by her mother, sister, three brothers and three sisters-in-law.

Her son, Tyler, issued the following statement:.

“It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the passing of my mother, Patricia Sue Head Summitt.

She died peacefully this morning at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville surrounded by those who loved her most.

Since 2011, my mother has battled her toughest opponent, early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ and she did so with bravely fierce determination just as she did with every opponent she ever faced. Even though it’s incredibly difficult to come to terms that she is no longer with us, we can all find peace in knowing she no longer carries the heavy burden of this disease.

For 64 years, my mother first built her life upon a strong relationship with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Her foundation was also built upon love of her family and of her players, and love of the fundamentals of hard work which reflected her philosophy that ‘you win in life with people’.

She was the fourth of five children – Tommy, Charles, Kenneth and Linda – born to Richard and Hazel Head on June 14, 1952, in Clarksville, Tenn. Her tireless work ethic and her love of the game of basketball were created during the time she spent growing up on the family farm.

She’ll be remembered as the all-time winningest D-1 basketball coach in NCAA history, but she was more than a coach to so many – she was a hero and a mentor, especially to me, her family, her friends, her Tennessee Lady Volunteer staff and the 161 Lady Vol student-athletes she coached during her 38-year tenure. We will all miss her immensely.

A private service and burial will be held for my mother in Middle Tennessee. I ask that you respect the privacy of that time.

We are in the process of finalizing the details of a public celebration of her life which will take place in one of her favorite places, Thompson-Boling Arena. Once those details are finalized, we will share them with you.

Thank you.”

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