Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pat Summitt says she’s ‘very, very content’ while attending screening of documentary about her

Pat Summitt says she’s “very, very content” in her new role now that she’s had a year to adjust to life after coaching.

The former Tennessee women’s basketball coach showed no obvious signs of her illness Wednesday during a rare three-minute session with local media at a preview screening of “Pat XO,” a documentary on her life airing July 9 on ESPN.

Summitt stepped down in April 2012, one year after announcing she had early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. Summitt, whose 1,098 career victories make her the winningest Division I men’s or women’s basketball coach in history, attended most of the Lady Vols’ practices and watched nearly every home game from the stands this past season as head coach emeritus.

“At first, it was different, obviously,” Summitt said. “But you know, I decided I was going to step down and let Holly (Warlick) take care of it. I’m very, very content in my role. Obviously I go to practice with them and all, but I think Holly is doing a great job.”

Summitt received a warm welcome at a downtown Knoxville screening that took place less than two miles from Thompson-Boling Arena, the home floor where she led Tennessee to eight national titles.

She posed for pictures and greeted fans while walking the length of an orange carpet that led to the theater. The invitation-only screening drew 250 people, though dozens more fans and the Tennessee cheerleading squad arrived to celebrate her appearance.

“That’s just Tennessee,” Summitt said of the reception. “That’s what people do. They come out and they support you. I’m just really excited we’re going to have a lot of people her so they can actually see it.”

Summitt has signed on for a second year as head coach emeritus on Warlick’s staff. Tennessee went 27-8 and reached a regional final this past season under Warlick, who played for Summitt and Tennessee and worked as her assistant for 27 seasons.

Her new role also gave Summitt more time to spend watching her son, Tyler, who just completed his first season as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Marquette. Summitt spent part of her session with reporters talking about her son’s “great wedding” that took place in Knoxville earlier this month.

“I was happy for him,” Summitt said. “They’d been wanting that for a long time.”

One of the people attending Wednesday’s preview screening was North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell, who flew down from Chapel Hill and left her basketball camp just to catch the movie and support her former graduate school classmate.

“It is the first time I haven’t given out the awards at one of my camps in 27 years, but it’s that important, that special,” Hatchell said. “I’ll do anything for Pat.”

The preview screening occurred on the same day that Tennessee officials formally announced plans to build a plaza on campus honoring Summitt and including a bronze statue of the Hall of Fame coach. The plaza will be privately funded by donations, though athletic director Dave Hart said he was unsure of its exact cost.

Hart said he hoped it would be completed in time to have a dedication ceremony later this year.

“I’m hoping this fall at some point during the middle to late part of the football season we could have a dedication,” Hart said. “A lot of things have to fall into place for us to hit that target, but I’m hopeful that we can find a way to hit that target.”

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

UT Announces Pat Summitt Plaza

Statue, Plaza To Honor NCAA's All-Time Winningest Coach

From 1974-2012, Pat Summitt built an incomparable legacy as head coach of the Lady Vol basketball program. As a way of saying thank you for all she has meant to the University of Tennessee and the Volunteer State, the UT Athletics Department would like to honor the Hall of Fame coach and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient in a spectacular and lasting way.

Plans call for Pat Summitt Plaza to be built at the corner of Lake Loudoun Boulevard and Phillip Fulmer Way, providing an impressive entry to the campus and greeting fans as they arrive via those avenues for basketball games at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Tennessee Fund is providing the opportunity for all Tennessee fans to pay tribute to the coach with the most victories in NCAA basketball history.

The plaza will serve as a permanent testament to the career of college basketball's greatest coach. A prime entry point for the new Lake Loudoun Boulevard entrance of campus, the area will feature a bronze statue of Coach Summitt and will celebrate the success of the Lady Vol basketball program.

"This is an exciting opportunity to honor, in perpetuity, the coach who is synonymous with the sport of women's basketball," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart said of the legendary Summitt. "Generations to come will enjoy seeing this beautiful statue and plaza named for this exceptional leader, role model and the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history."

Pat Summitt's influence stretches all over the world," WNBA standout, ESPN analyst and former Lady Vol Kara Lawson said. "I'm thrilled the University of Tennessee is honoring a woman who, as a pioneer, champion and catalyst, shaped the women's game. As a former player, I feel fortunate to have learned under the greatest basketball coach in history."

In her 38 seasons as head coach at UT, Summitt guided the Lady Vols to an eye-popping 1,098-208 record and a remarkable winning percentage of .840. Along the way, her teams won eight NCAA championships and 32 combined SEC regular season and tournament titles.

During her tenure, Summitt produced 14 Olympians, 21 WBCA/Kodak/State Farm All-Americans who earned 36 honors and 39 All-SEC players who were recognized a total of 82 times. She also sent 34 of her players to the WNBA, including 15 drafted in the first round and three chosen with the first pick.

The most impressive statistic of Summitt's career, however, is the 100-percent graduation rate for players who completed their eligibility at Tennessee. That figure represents 122 Lady Vols who earned diplomas, including several who obtained master's degrees before leaving Rocky Top.

"This is a well-deserved honor for my coach, mentor and friend," said Holly Warlick, current head coach of the Lady Vols, who played for Summitt from 1976-80 and coached alongside her for 27 years. "She will always be a legend for Tennesseans and others throughout the country."

To support this important project or for more information, please call the Tennessee Fund office at (865) 974-1218, visit patsummittplaza.com, or email info@patsummittplaza.com.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summitt joins FIBA Hall of Fame

Lady Vols head coach emeritus Pat Summitt has been inducted into the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Hall of Fame in Switzerland.

The ceremony took place Tuesday in Mies, Switzerland.

Summitt was among six former players, three coaches, two technical officials and a contributor composed the class of 2013.

Coach Holly Warlick attended the induction on Summitt's behalf.

In addition to Summitt, other inductees included Jean-Jacques Conceiçao of Angola, Australia's Andrew Gaze, Paula Gonçalves of Brazil, Serbia's Zoran Slavnic and the USA pair of David Robinson and Teresa Edwards making up the contingent of players. They were joined from the coaching profession by the late John 'Jack' Donohue of Canada and Italy's Cesare Rubini.

Technical officials Valentin Lazarov of Bulgaria and Costas Rigas of Greece, along with contributor Aldo Vitale of Italy, rounded out the impressive list.

"The 2013 Class of the FIBA Hall of Fame is truly a special one," said FIBA Secretary General and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member Patrick Baumann.

"These are great personalities who have experienced great success on and off the court, but who also stand out for the character they have shown and for the countless efforts they have made to help promote our sport."

"It's a tremendous honor for Coach Summitt," Warlick said. "Obviously, everyone knows about her collegiate career and what she has done. Her international accomplishments as a player and coach are just incredible.

"She played on the first Olympic Team in 1976, and she coached and won a gold medal in 1984 at the Games in Los Angeles. She is an icon, not only in the States, but all over the world. It is a great accomplishment for Coach Summitt, and I was very honored to accept this for her."

Summitt is the ninth coach inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame. She's also a member of the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, Women's Sports Foundation Hall of Fame, National Association for Sport and Physical Education Hall of Fame, Tennessee Women's Hall of Fame, Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame and Lady Vol Hall of Fame.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pat Summitt wins Keith Jackson Eternal Flame Award from college sports information directors

Former Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt is the winner of the Keith Jackson Eternal Flame Award, an honor given annually by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Tennessee women’s athletic director emeritus Joan Cronan accepted the award on Summitt’s behalf Friday during the sports information directors’ convention.

The award goes to an individual or an organization that has made a lasting contribution to college athletics.

Summitt stepped down as the Tennessee women’s basketball coach in April 2012, one year after announcing she had early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. Summitt led Tennessee to eight national titles and 18 Final Four appearances in 38 seasons. Her 1,098 career wins are the most by any Division I men’s or women’s basketball coach.

Summitt remains on Tennessee’s staff as head coach emeritus.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Monday, June 03, 2013

Tyler Summitt marries AnDe Ragsdale in Knoxville

Tyler Summitt tied the knot with AnDe Ragsdale in Knoxville on Saturday.

Before the wedding ceremony, Tyler tweeted, "Getting married to the love my life, and better half - AnDe. I can't thank God enough for blessing me with an angel."

According to ESPN, Tyler popped the question to his high school sweetheart in August even though he'd recently undergone an emergency appendectomy.

"He was still able to go on a walk with me," Ragsdale told ESPN. "He had this beautiful Bible made for me, and he read a verse out of it. On the front of it he had engraved, 'Mr. and Mrs. Summitt.' It was perfect - it was simple and sweet, and that's what I love. He was great. . . despite having a really sore abdomen."

Tyler is the only child of iconic women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, who now serves as head coach emeritus for the Lady Vols.

Tennessee fans watch Tyler grow up alongside his mother on the sidelines in Thompson-Boling Arena, eventually playing for the Vols basketball team. One of the most memorable moment was when Pat Summitt held young Tyler in her arms while cutting down the basketball net after the Lady Vols won the 1991 NCAA title.

Following in his mother's footsteps, Tyler is now an assistant coach at Marquette in Milwaukee, embarking on his own career path.