Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame president Dr. Bill Emendorfer announced today that University of Tennessee head women's basketball coach Pat Summitt has been chosen to receive the Tennessean of the Year Award.
Summitt will be honored at the 2012 Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on May 19 in Nashville, Tenn.
In making the announcement, Emendorfer said, "Pat Summitt is a shining example of why we are proud to be Tennesseans.
"It took great courage for her to step forward and share her medical diagnosis of early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type, with the world last August. It took even greater courage for Pat to continue to coach and put a very real face on this invisible disease.
"No one has made a greater contribution to the state of Tennessee than Pat through her leadership and personal sacrifice for the betterment of society as a whole. She has dedicated herself to a cause that has greater value than her personal accomplishments," said Emendorfer.
This marks the second time that Summitt, a 2003 TSHF Inductee, has been selected as the Tennessean of the Year and the first time it has been awarded to the same person twice. Summitt first received the honor in 1988 which best exemplifies the volunteer sprit of the state of Tennessee.
Summitt has just completed her 38th year at the helm of the Lady Vols and sports a remarkable 1,098-208 overall record. In the 2011-12 season, she helped to lead her team to a 27-9 overall record, an SEC Tournament Championship and a trip to her record 31st NCAA Tournament where the Lady Vols advanced to the Elite 8.
Summitt's life, playing and coaching career and commitment to excellence will also be celebrated at the Tennessean of the Year luncheon. The tribute is part of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Induction weekend which starts on Friday, May 18 with a private tailgate at the Vanderbilt-Ole Miss baseball game and concludes with the banquet at the Renaissance Hotel Saturday night, May 19.
Tickets to the luncheon are $40.00 and may be purchased by contacting the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame at 615.202.3996 (Tue-Sat, 10-5 p.m. CDT).
Some of the more notables to have received the award include the first winner Barbara Mandrell (1982), Lamar Alexander (1986), Cybil Shepherd (1993), Vince Gill (1995), Don Sunquist (1996), Philip Bredesen (1997), Peyton Manning (1998), Doug Dickey ( 2000), 101st Airborne Division/Air Assault (2002), Jim Haslam (2006), Hank Williams Jr. (2007), Kenny Chesney (2011 ), and the Tennessee Olympians (1985, 2001, 2005 ).