Pat Summitt passed away early this morning after a rapid and tragic decline from early onset Alzheimer’s disease. She only announced her diagnosis in 2011, and recent media reports stated that her condition had worsened significantly in recent days.
Summitt took over the Lady Vols in 1974 and quickly built the program into the most dominant force in women’s college basketball. She finished her legendary career with 1,098 wins, 8 NCAA championships, and was named NCAA Coach of the year 7 times.
Her success and engaging personality were crucial in elevating women’s college basketball from a sparsely covered regional sport to a nationally covered sport. She was instrumental in the creation of the NCAA Women’s college basketball tournament in 1982, and was at the forefront of advocating for better pay for women’s coaches.
Pat Summitt wasn’t just an all time great women’s basketball coach, she advanced the culture of women’s sports in America.