Friday, January 10, 2014

Congressman Jimmy Duncan seeks Congressional Gold Medal for Pat Summitt

Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) introduced legislation Thursday to award Lady Vols Head Coach Emeritus Pat Summitt the Congressional Gold Medal.

The U.S. Congress calls the medal "its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions."

Duncan says the measure would bestow the medal to Summitt in recognition of her unparalleled career in sports and for her courage in speaking out about her battle with Alzheimer's disease.

The entire Tennessee Congressional House Delegation joined as co-sponsor of the bill.

Summitt is the winningest coach in basketball history with 1,098 victories. Her teams have won 16 Southeastern Conference Championships and eight national championships, and she has coached in 18 Final Fours and has an 84-percentage winning record as a head coach.

"To me, her most impressive statistic is a 100-percent graduation rate, and she did not allow her players to take easy courses," Duncan said. "She made them prepare for life after basketball, and almost all her players have been successful after leaving the University of Tennessee."

Summitt retired as head coach in 2012 after being diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type. Coach Summitt and her son Tyler established the Pat Summitt Foundation to help lead the fight against the disease.

All Congressional Gold Medal bills must be co-sponsored by at least two-thirds (290) of the Members of the House to be brought up for a vote.

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