Tennessee's Pat Summitt steps down

Coach hands reins to assistant

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Pat Summitt, who won more games than anyone in NCAA college basketball history, stepped down Wednesday as coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols, less than eight months after revealing she had early-onset dementia.

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Pat Summitt, the sport's winningest coach, is stepping aside as Tennessee's women's basketball coach. She won 16 conference championships and tournament titles, and was a seven-time NCAA Coach of the Year.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Pat Summitt, the sport's winningest coach, is stepping aside as Tennessee's women's basketball coach. She won 16 conference championships and tournament titles, and was a seven-time NCAA Coach of the Year.

“I’ve loved being the head coach at Tennessee for 38 years, but I recognize that the time has come to move into the future and to step into a new role,” the 59-year-old Hall of Famer said in a statement.

Longtime assistant Holly Warlick will take over for Summitt, who will become head coach emeritus.

A news conference is scheduled this afternoon.

When the Lady Vols lost in a regional final to eventual national champion Baylor, Warlick’s tears were a telltale sign of how draining the season had been and also that it likely was Summitt’s last game.

“She is an icon who does not view herself in that light, and her legacy is well-defined and everlasting,” athletic director Dave Hart said. “Just like there will never be another John Wooden, there will never be another Pat Summitt. I look forward to continuing to work with her in her new role. She is an inspiration to everyone.”

Tennessee said that Summitt’s responsibilities will include helping with recruiting, watching practice, joining staff meetings, helping coaches analyze practice and games and advising the Southeastern Conference on women’s basketball issues and mentoring players.

“Pat’s vision for the game of women’s basketball and her relentless drive pushed the game to a new level and made it possible for the rest of us to accomplish what we did,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement.

Warlick, a three-time All-American who played for Summitt, was her assistant for 27 years. Warlick said she was thankful for all Summitt has done in preparing her for this opportunity as her coach, mentor and friend.

“We will work as hard as we possibly can with the goal of hanging more banners in Thompson-Boling Arena,” Warlick said.

Last season, while Summitt devoted more attention to her health, Warlick took the lead during games and handled postgame interviews, while the entire staff handled recruiting and practices. Even so, Summitt still managed to put on her signature icy stare a time or two during the tournament.

“As I’ve said many times, Pat Summitt is a pioneer in basketball,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Her amazing career accomplishments are among an elite group of leaders. Very few people leave a lasting legacy in their chosen professions and Coach Summitt has done just that at the University of Tennessee and in women’s basketball. She raised the level of commitment, pride and notoriety of her sport. I am honored to call her a friend.”

Her impact reaches beyond wins and losses. Every Lady Vol player who has completed her eligibility at Tennessee has graduated, and 74 former players, assistants, graduate assistants, team managers and directors of basketball operations are currently among the coaching ranks at every level of basketball.

“You think about the University of Tennessee and you think of Pat Sum­mitt,” former Lady Vols star Tamika Catchings said. “You don’t think of anyone else. The great players that have come and gone, coaches that have come and gone, but the legacy that she built for herself and for the university (remains). It’s amazing how far women’s basketball has come. Her legacy isn’t over yet.”

AT A GLANCE

A look at Pat Summitt’s 38-year career with the Tennessee Lady Volunteers.

CAREER RECORD

Overall: 1,098-208 Neutral: 234-65 Home: 504-48 Road: 360-95

SEC GAMES

Overall: 458-69 Neutral: 81-17

Home: 204-15 Road: 173-37

NCAA TOURNAMENT

Overall: 112-23

First/second rounds: 48-1

Regional semis: 25-5

Regional finals: 18-7

Final Fours: 21-10

NCAA Titles: 8 (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996-98, 2007-08

Source: www.utladyvols.com.

QUOTABLE

• “GREATEST coach ever!!! Stepped down today but never too far. Luv ya Pat! Congrats 2 Holly Warlick. ...” Reigning WNBA MVP and former Lady Vol Tamika Catchings wrote on Twitter

• “I think it’s a sad day for me personally and a sad day for women’s basketball. Pat Summitt is the John Wooden of women’s basketball whether she’s coaching or in the stands watching. She is a legend in the game. A great coach, a great ambassador in the game, and a great mother ...” – Baylor coach Kim Mulkey

• “I’ll never forget my sophomore year, @patsummitt gave our pre-game speech before playing rival Florida... She had me too hype!! #LEGEND” – Patriots receiver Donte’ Stallworth wrote on Twitter

• “She has made an immeasurable impact both on and off the basketball court during her Hall of Fame career. The strength and perseverance that have defined her as a coach, mentor and role model were never more visible than through the incredible courage she displayed this past season. Without question, Pat is one of the strongest people I know.” – Denver QB Peyton Manning

– Associated Press

BY THE NUMBERS

1,098

Career wins – most in men’s and women’s

458-69

Overall record in the Southeastern Conference

112

Overall victories in the NCAA Tournament

8

National
championships


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