Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Statement from Pat Summitt

Dear All -

Throughout my career, I have always made it a point that my life and my basketball program were an open book.

With that in mind, I have something I'd like to share with my Tennessee families -- the university, boosters and fans of Lady Vol basketball.

Once last season concluded, I addressed some ongoing concerns regarding my health. After consulting with my local physicians, I decided to visit the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Earlier this summer, the doctors at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed me with early onset dementia ("Alzheimer's Type") at the age of 59.

I plan to continue to be your coach. Obviously, I realize I may have some limitations with this condition since there will be some good days and some bad days.

For that reason, I will be relying on my outstanding coaching staff like never before. We have always collaborated on every facet of Lady Vol basketball; and now you will see Holly Warlick, Dean Lockwood and Mickie DeMoss taking on more responsibility as their duties will change significantly.

I love being your coach and the privilege to go to work every day with our outstanding Lady Vol basketball student-athletes. I appreciate the complete support of UT Chancellor Dr. Jimmy Cheek and UT Athletics Director Joan Cronan to continue coaching at the University of Tennessee as long as the good Lord is willing.

I've been honest and shared my health concerns with you, and now we'll move forward to the business at hand... coaching a great group of Lady Vols. For the time being, I hope you will respect my privacy regarding this matter.

Thank you.

Go Lady Vols!
Pat Summitt


rescue4u2 said...

This is truly a shock for both you and fans. I admire you for your courage and strength to continue coaching such a great team. I'll be cheering for ya this upcoming season.

Go Lady Vol's
Lesa V, Virginia

Anonymous said...

Pat- I suspect that at age 64 I am not far behind you but wanted to extend best wishes for your extended good health. I have to admit I am from New England and always cheer for UConn vs U of T but have great admiration and respect for what you have accomplished in life & how you have led your life. I wish you only the best and the ability to enjoy life to the fullest.

Anonymous said...

I have worked with patients who have been given the diagnosis of AZ Dementia for 11 years. You are a person first and your diagnosis is second. Continue to do what you love to do, the quality of your life is more important than the quantity. Only the Lord knows your plan, for now, utilize all strategies and support you can for brain function. No matter what I have witnessed the brain do miraculous things. The rest is in your heart, and that Pat is stronger than anyone knows. Continued success for all you endeavor.

Anonymous said...

Much love to you Coach!

Chris Pierson said...


Nine years ago my Dad was diagnosed with Dementia. He has taken his meds,stayed active, had a great doctor and did not alter his life. We still call him Harry, King of the Missing Receipt. However, he golfs at least 2 days a week, does all his own yard work, plays bocce,swims,volunteers at his Elks lodge and is still a devoted husband, father and grandfather and never forgets a face. Stay with your program and keep a good attitude. Go PAT!!!!! Chris P. Safety Harbor FL

Anonymous said...

All of Weakley County (UTM alumni) and especially those of us in Gleason,TN are praying for you. You are an inspiration to so many people.
Gene Price
Pastor of Tumbling Creek Baptist Church

gramma in California said...

Dear Pat - You are an inspiration! I just watched the streams about you on msnbc. Thank you so much for going public - I hope that your sharing will help others who are going through this disease. I applaud the University for keeping you as their head coach. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your family, and your team.

Joy said...

Everybody is wishing you the absolute best of luck in fighting this. You're in our thoughts.