KNOXVILLE, TN—America lost another icon in the sports community on Tuesday, June 28. Pat Summitt, the winningest coach in Division I college basketball history (men or women) with 1,098 victories, passed away from early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. She was 64.
Her son, Tyler Summitt, issued a statement Tuesday saying that his mother died peacefully at the Sherrill Hills retirement facility 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,” said Tyler Summitt. “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.”
Summitt said in the statement that a private ceremony would be held in Middle Tennessee, but a date or exact location was not disclosed. Erin Freeman, who has been acting as a spokeswoman for the Summitt family this week, confirmed with The Tennessean that the funeral took place Thursday in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Current Lady Vols coach, Holly Warlick, played for Summitt and worked as an assistant on her staff for 27 seasons. She tweeted on Thursday that “She has been laid to rest… Godspeed Pat… Godspeed. U r home.”
Coach Summitt led the Lady Vols to eight national titles in her 38 seasons at Tennessee. She was named the NCAA coach of the year seven times. She also took the Lady Vols to 22 Final Fours (18 NCAA, four AIAW). Her teams won 16 Southeastern Conference tournament titles and made 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament.
Tennessee Athletic Director Dave Hart said in a statement, “Pat Summitt is synonymous with Tennessee, but she truly is a global icon who transcended sports and spent her entire life making a difference in other peoples’ lives. She was a genuine, humble leader who focused on helping people achieve more than they thought they were capable of accomplishing. Pat was so much more that a Hall of Fame coach; she was a mother, mentor, leader, friend, humanitarian and inspiration to so many. Her legacy will live on through the countless people she touched throughout her career.”
A public ceremony to celebrate the life of Coach Summitt is scheduled for July 14 at 7:00 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus.