Thursday, June 30, 2016

Private Funeral Held for Pat Summitt

An orange scarf is placed around the statue of Pat Summitt before a candlelight vigil at the
Pat Summitt Plaza, Wednesday, June 29, 2016, in Knoxville, TN. Summitt, the winningest coach
in Division I college basketball history who uplifted the women's game from obscurity
to national prominence during her career at Tennessee, died Tuesday. She was 64.
A private funeral service for former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt was held Thursday.

Erin Freeman, who has been acting as a spokeswoman for the Summitt family this week, confirmed that the funeral took place Thursday in Clarksville, Tennessee. When Summitt died Tuesday at the age of 64, her family had issued a statement saying a private ceremony would be held in Middle Tennessee without disclosing a date or exact location.

Tennessee coach Holly Warlick, who played for Summitt and worked as an assistant on her staff for 27 seasons, tweeted Thursday that "She has been laid to rest. ... Godspeed Pat. ... Godspeed. U r home."

About 30-35 of Summitt's former Tennessee players as well as many of her former assistant coaches attended the private ceremony. The group of former players included Michelle Marciniak and Chamique Holdsclaw, who discussed the service via social media.

Holdsclaw said in an Instagram post that the service was "so beautiful."

"It was so good to see our Lady Vol family," Holdsclaw wrote. "We are going to miss you in the physical, but we should all know we have an angel pulling for us 24/7. I'm going to miss the great hugs you give. Sleep in peace."

Holdsclaw noted that Marciniak gave one of the eulogies. Marciniak tweeted that "eulogizing Pat Summitt today (was) made easier with LVFL (Lady Vol For Life) support. Pat told us, 'Trust me,' and we did."

Summitt won eight national titles and a Division I record 1,098 games in 38 seasons at Tennessee before stepping down in 2012, one year after announcing she had early-onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.

A public ceremony to celebrate Summitt's life is scheduled for July 14 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tennessee's campus. Thompson-Boling Arena includes the Lady Volunteers' home court, which is named after Summitt.

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Gov. Haslam, Former Players Attend Private Funeral for Pat Summitt

Well-known Tennesseans and former basketball players attended a private funeral for Pat Summitt Thursday.

The service was held in Clarksville, Tennessee, according to Summitt spokesperson Erin Freeman. Those in attendance included Gov. Bill Haslam, Peyton Manning, and generations of former players.

Summitt’s niece spoke during the funeral, and Dr. Chris Stephens of Knoxville’s Faith Promise Church delivered the eulogy.

Summitt passed away Tuesday at the age of 64. The legendary Lady Vols coach had a long and successful career at the University of Tennessee, which spanned 38 years.

Flags over the Tennessee Capitol and state offices were lowered in Summitt’s honor Tuesday. They were to remain that way until sunset Thursday.

The Pat Summitt Foundation to Sell Memorial Tee, Warns Against Counterfeits

The Pat Summitt Foundation announced Thursday it will begin selling a memorial T-shirt Friday honoring the Lady Vols legend’s life and career. Nearly all of the proceeds will benefit the foundation’s work in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

The shirt’s design will not be officially unveiled until Friday. It will be available for purchase in retail stores across the state for a limited time and online at The Pat Summitt Foundation’s website. Bacon and Company President Jed Dance handled the design, production and distribution at no cost to the foundation.

The Pat Summitt Foundation also advised people on Thursday to be wary of multiple memorial shirts being sold online without permission to use Summit’s legally protected name and claiming to benefit the foundation. Foundation officials say they have contacted those selling the shirts, but have not yet received a response.

Summitt died Tuesday at 64, five years after her diagnosis with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Honoring Pat Summitt

A Celebration of Life service for Pat Summitt will be held at 7 p.m. July 14.

The service is open to the public and will take place at Thompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus. No other details were released.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has ordered the flags over the state capitol and office buildings lowered to half-staff through sunset Thursday in honor of Summitt.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero tweeted Tuesday that the Henley Bridge lights would be changed to orange, white and blue Tuesday night "in remembrance of Coach Summitt's deep devotion to Knoxville."

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett asked Tuesday that flags at all Knox County properties be lowered to half-staff in honor of Summitt.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Celebration of Life Service Honoring Pat Summitt Set for July 14

A Celebration of Life Service that will be open to the public will honor Pat Summitt on Thursday, July 14, at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The service is set for 7 p.m. More details will be provided at a later date.

Tyler Summitt's Statement on the Death of His Mother

Tyler Summitt released this statement about the passing of his mother, Pat Summitt:

“It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the passing of my mother, Patricia Sue Head Summitt.

She died peacefully this morning at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville surrounded by those who loved her most.

Since 2011, my mother has battled her toughest opponent, early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ and she did so with bravely fierce determination just as she did with every opponent she ever faced. Even though it’s incredibly difficult to come to terms that she is no longer with us, we can all find peace in knowing she no longer carries the heavy burden of this disease.

For 64 years, my mother first built her life upon a strong relationship with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Her foundation was also built upon love of her family and of her players, and love of the fundamentals of hard work which reflected her philosophy that ‘you win in life with people.’

She was the fourth of five children – Tommy, Charles, Kenneth and Linda – born to Richard and Hazel Head on June 14, 1952, in Clarksville, Tennessee.  Her tireless work ethic and her love of the game of basketball were created during the time she spent growing up on the family farm.

She’ll be remembered as the all-time winningest D-1 basketball coach in NCAA history, but she was more than a coach to so many – she was a hero and a mentor, especially to me, her family, her friends, her Tennessee Lady Volunteer staff and the 161 Lady Vol student-athletes she coached during her 38-year tenure.

We will all miss her immensely.

A private service and burial will be held for my mother in Middle Tennessee.  I ask that you respect the privacy of that time.

We are in the process of finalizing the details of a public celebration of her life which will take place in one of her favorite places, Thompson-Boling Arena. Once those details are finalized, we will share them with you.

Thank you.”

Pat Summitt Has Passed Away

Pat Summitt, who built the University of Tennessee's Lady Volunteers into a perennial power on the way to becoming the winningest coach in the history of major college basketball, died today.

Her death came five years after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. She was 64.

Summitt battled the disease with "fierce determination just as she did with every opponent she ever faced," her son, Tyler Summitt, said.

"Even though it's incredibly difficult to come to terms that she is no longer with us, we can all find peace in knowing she no longer carries the heavy burden of this disease," Tyler Summitt said.

In her 38 years at Tennessee, Summitt won eight national titles and 1,098 games -- the most by any Division 1 basketball coach, male or female. Her teams made an unprecedented 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Beyond the wins and the statistics, Summitt had a profound impact on women's college athletics.

When she became head coach of the Lady Vols in 1974 at the age of 22 -- barely older than some of her players -- the NCAA did not even formally recognize women's basketball. Summitt had to drive the team van to road games herself.

As the wins and the championships piled up, Summitt's astonishing achievements commanded national attention and helped usher women's basketball into the spotlight.

"She'll be remembered as the all-time winningest D-1 basketball coach in NCAA history, but she was more than a coach to so many -- she was a hero and a mentor, especially to me, her family, her friends, her Tennessee Lady Volunteer staff and the 161 Lady Vol student-athletes she coached during her 38-year tenure," Tyler Summitt said.

Current Lady Vols Coach Holly Warlick credited Summitt with playing a "very significant role in molding me into the person I am."

"Pat gave me strength and courage to face anything," Warlick said. "She was driven to perfection and always remained true to her standards. That meant doing things the right way, no matter what. In my eyes, there's never been anyone better than Pat Summitt."

Obituary from The Pat Summitt Foundation.

Sign the official guestbook.

Please consider donating to The Pat Summitt Foundation.

Knoxville Pays It Forward Hosting Turn the World Orange Event

As legendary Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt's health continues to worsen, local organization Knoxville Pays It Forward is showing its support by encouraging everyone to wear orange in her honor on Friday, July 1, 2016.

The group organized a similar event when Summitt was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, using the hashtag #WeBackPat to show support. Now, Knoxville Pays It Forward encourages everyone to invite their friends to join in on Friday to express their support for Summitt and her family.

The group has set up a public Facebook event called Turn the World Orange and urges everyone to join the event and pass along the word to everyone they know. Click here to learn more about the event.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ackermann PR Releases Statement on Former Coach's Condition

The family of former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt released a statement Sunday confirming recent reports she is going through a "difficult" time in her battle with Alzheimer's disease.
On behalf of Pat Summitt’s family, we acknowledge the past few days have been difficult for Pat as her early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ progresses," the statement read. "She is surrounded by those who mean the most to her and during this time, we ask for prayers for Pat and her family and friends, as well as your utmost respect and privacy. Thank you.
The statement was released by Erin Freeman of Ackermann Public Relations.

The Knoxville News Sentinel previously reported Summitt's loved ones were "preparing for the worst."

The 64-year-old was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2011. She retired from coaching following the 2011-12 season and has the title of head coach emeritus in Knoxville. Tennessee won eight national championships and made 18 Final Four appearances during her tenure.

Her health has steadily declined since her diagnosis. While she completed a full season as a coach following the diagnosis, longtime Lady Vols announcer Mickey Dearstone gave insight into her worsened state in a March interview with' Dennis Dodd.

“I’m not sure that she knows who I am unless I tell her,” Dearstone said. “People that were really close to her, it’s really sunk in.”

The average life expectancy of someone diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease is eight to 10 years, according to the Mayo Clinic.