Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pat Summitt Files for Divorce

To view/download Pat Head Summitt's divorce filing, click here.

University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball coach Pat Head Summitt filed for divorce from longtime husband R.B. Summitt II Wednesday afternoon in Blount County.

The complaint, which includes Pat Head Summitt’s signature that was notarized on Aug. 2., was filed in the Equity Division of Blount County Circuit Court at about 2:15 p.m. and states that Pat Head Summitt is “seeking an absolute divorce” from her husband.

Preparing for her 34th season at UT, Summitt is the NCAA’s all-time winningest coach with 947 victories, including seven national championships, and is her sport’s highest-paid coach with an annual salary of more than $1.1 million. Following the 2006 season, the former Olympian signed a six-year contract extension that eventually will pay Summitt $1.5 million.

Through a University of Tennessee spokesperson, Pat Summitt declined to comment on the divorce proceedings.

Patricia Head, 55, born in Clarksville, and Ross B. Summitt, 56, born in Sevierville, were married almost 27 years ago in Clarksville. They had a child together who will turn 17 next month, and they bought land in Blount County June 7, 1990.

According to the divorce complaint, Pat Head Summitt, “asserts that irreconcilable differences have arisen between the parties which makes the granting of an absolute divorce appropriate.”

“Wife reserves the right to add such additional grounds as may be determined following the completion of discovery procedures,” the complaint states.

Pat Head Summitt plans to develop a Marital Dissolution Agreement and Permanent Parenting Plan to present to the court. The complaint states that if the parties fail to do this, the court should provide an “equitable distribution of the marital assets of the parties, provide an appropriate insurance program, child custody and child support and such other, further and general relief as she may show herself entitled to upon a hearing of this cause.”

Summitt led Tennessee to national titles in 1987, ’89, 1991, ’96, ’97, ’98 and 2007 and her seven titles are second only to Hall of Fame coach John Wooden’s 10. With a 75-54 win over Purdue in the second round of the NCAA Tournament March 22, 2005, Summitt became the NCAA’s all-time winningest coach with her 880th victory and UT officials officially renamed the court inside Thompson-Boling Arena “The Summitt” in honor of the Lady Vols coach.

“There have been no discussions of changing the court name or her name,” said Tiffany Carpenter, director of public relations for UT athletics.

A local judge said a name can be changed at the time the divorce is finalized or can be changed later.

“It can be done either way. Most of the time it’s done at the time of the divorce,” the judge said.

Bernard E. Bernstein filed the complaint and is representing Pat Head Summitt in the divorce. He said both parties are hoping to resolve any issues to facilitate the divorce.
“The parties are going to make a determined effort to conclude the divorce amicably,” Bernstein told The Daily Times on Wednesday afternoon.

Bernstein said the Summitts separated several months ago and the filed complaint starts the process of the divorce.

“They’re both concerned about the welfare of their son,” Bernstein said.

Bernstein said he would rather not say who was representing R.B. Summitt, who is president of Sevier County Bank, because the attorney has made “no official appearance.”

A local judge said the Summitts will have to wait at least 90 days before the divorce can be finalized in Blount County Circuit Court and said, “Generally, if it’s agreed to, that’s what would happen.” He said that if divorcing parties do not have children, they only have to wait 60 days.

The judge said R.B. Summitt will have 30 days to respond and admit or deny any allegations in the complaint. The respondent will file an answer to the complaint and has the opportunity to file a counter claim if desired.

“After that, it would be up to both parties’ lawyers to reach a resolution.

“The more you have (in assets) — the more you’ve got to get settled,” the judge said.

If both parties cannot reach a resolution, the law now requires that the parties seek mediation. If mediation does not resolve differences, there will be a trial and a judge will make the final decisions.

“Most divorce cases are solved before the court has to hear them,” the judge said.

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