Patricia Head Summitt was born on June 14, 1952 in Henrietta, Tennessee, the daughter of Richard and Hazel Albright Head. She was the fourth of five children and the first girl. Having a no-nonsense disciplinarian for a father, competing with three older brothers and growing up on a family farm that required a tremendous amount of hard work, toughened "Tricia" as she is known back home. During her childhood she went to school, attended the Methodist church, worked the fields, and played basketball in the hayloft with her brothers. In the Head family, good work was expected, not praised. Excuses weren't accepted and laziness wasn't tolerated. She was taught to be self-sufficient. Pat said, "I don't mind being tough because my dad was tough. I don't mind showing affection because my mother showed affection."
Coach Summitt graduated from Cheatham County High School in Ashland City, Tennessee. In 1974, she received her B.S. in physical education from UT-Martin and led the Lady Pacers to a 64-29 record over four years. She was the co-captain of the 1976 U.S. Olympic women's basketball team and won a silver medal; as an international coach she brought home the first USA women's basketball gold medal in Olympic competition in 1984.
During her extraordinary career as the head coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers (Lady Vols), Pat Summitt coached Tennessee to eight NCAA National Championships, and amassed an enviable career record of 1098-208, a winning percentage of 84 percent, and she won 112 of the 135 NCAA tournament games in which her teams competed. She led the Lady Vols to 31 consecutive NCAA tournaments and produced NCAA championships in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, and 2008. She holds an NCAA tournament record for most wins.
On January 14, 2003, she became the first woman to reach the 800-win plateau.
On March 22, 2005, she became No. 1 on the Division I all-time wins list, surpassing Dean Smith's record of 879 wins.
She was a proven winner, champion, master motivator and role model. Her 1997-1998 team is considered one of the best collegiate women's basketball squads of all time going 39-0 and dominating their opponents by an average of more than 30 points per contest.
Pat Summitt was a goodwill ambassador for the University of Tennessee and women's basketball. The Lady Vols have played in more than 40 states, five foreign countries and in every imaginable venue. She was a former player personnel consultant for the WNBA's Washington Mystics.
She was a friend and mentor to her players, motivating them to believe in themselves, their team and constantly challenged them to reach their potential as a student athlete. Every Lady Vol player who has completed her eligibility at Tennessee has received her degree or is in the process of completing the requirements for graduation.
Summitt's program produced 12 U.S. basketball Olympians, 21 Kodak (now State Farm) All-Americans receiving 36 citations, over 40 international performers, and 25 professional players representing the ABL, WNBA or overseas teams.
CLICK HERE for a listing of accolades/awards won by Lady Vol players that Pat Summitt coached.
Coach Summitt adapted well to changes in players and differences in the team's chemistry. Although she mellowed a bit over the years, she was still tough. If a player didn't go to class, she didn't step on the court. Players had to sit in the first three rows in class and pay attention. They were expected to complete all assignments and respect everyone. No tattoos were permitted to be shown in public. There was a price to be paid for being a Lady Vol. It was a large commitment and a responsibility on and off the court. "We're teaching life skills," Summitt said. "I don't want average people. Average people cut corners. Winners know there are no shortcuts." She demanded perfection without breaking the spirit of the players.
Summitt was the author of three very successful books, Reach for the Summit, Raise the Roof, and Sum It Up. They should be on every basketball fan's reading list. She was also a commentator and wonderful motivational speaker.
Pat was also extremely active in community affairs and was honored at a White House luncheon given by First Lady Hillary Clinton, recognizing the "25 Most Influential Working Mothers" as selected by Working Mother magazine. She was a member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters and was an active alumna of the Chi Omega sorority. She was a spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, the United Way and The Race for the Cure. Coach Summitt was also the honorary chair for the Tennessee Easter Seal Society in 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1989. She served as the Tennessee chair of the American Heart Association. In January 1996, she was named, "Distinguished Citizen of the Year" by the Boy Scouts of America. In the winter of 1996, the Lupus Foundation presented her with an award. In May 1997, Proffitt's and the Tennessee Lung Association presented her with the "Tennessee Woman of Distinction Award." She was honored as one of Glamour magazine's "1998 Women of the Year," and the city of Knoxville's "1998 Woman of the Year."
She was married to Sevier County Bank president R.B. Summitt. Their son, Ross Tyler, was born September 21, 1990 several hours after a harrowing plane trip from Pennsylvania back to Tennessee when Summitt went into labor while recruiting Michelle Marciniak.
She was close to her family. Her father, Richard Head, passed away at home, surrounded by family, in Henrietta, Tennessee, on October 23, 2005. Mr. Head, known as "The Tall Man," was survived by Hazel Albright Head, his wife of 63 years; sons, Tommy (Deloris) Head of Henrietta, Tenn., Charles (Mitzi) Head of Thomasville, Tenn., and Kenneth (Debbie) Head of Oak Plains, Tenn., and daughters, Patricia (R.B.) Summitt of Knoxville, Tenn., and Linda (Wesley) Attebery of Thomasville, Tenn.
Her brothers Tommy, Charles, and Kenneth, and her sister Linda Attebery live within a five-mile radius of their mother.
On Aug. 22, 2011, Pat Summitt bravely revealed the toughest opponent she will battle, early onset dementia, "Alzheimer's Type," after the doctors at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed her at the age of 59.
The immediate groundswell of support was truly amazing. A "We Back Pat" campaign sprang up overnight and went viral in the social media world. Summitt started The Pat Summitt Foundation, www.patsummitt.org, to raise Alzheimer's awareness and ultimately eradicate this horrible disease.
On April 18, 2012, after a storied 38-year career, Pat Summitt stepped down as head coach of the Tennessee women's basketball team to become a coach emeritus with the program. Lady Vols associate head coach Holly Warlick was named the new head coach.
On April 19, 2012, President Barack Obama announced that Summitt was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
President Obama said, "Coach Summitt is an inspiration - both as the all-time winningest NCAA coach, and as someone who is willing to speak so openly and courageously about her battle with Alzheimer's. Pat's gift has always been her ability to push those around her to new heights, and over the last 38 years, her unique approach has resulted in both unparalleled success on the court and unrivaled loyalty from those who know her and those whose lives she has touched. Pat's coaching career may be over, but I'm confident that her work is far from finished. I look forward to awarding her this honor."
Summitt said about the award, "I didn't see it coming. It's a tremendous honor."
Pat Summitt lost her battle with early onset dementia, "Alzheimer's Type" on June 28, 2016.
Pat Summitt Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom May 29, 2012
Pat, Tyler and R.B. Summitt in happier days
DEFINITE DOZEN SYSTEM FOR SUCCESS
Naismith Women's College Basketball Coach of the 20th Century
Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on October 13, 2000
Inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999
Coach Summitt trails only UCLA's John Wooden for the most NCAA titles with eight - 1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, and 2008
The NCAA's first back-to-back-to-back women's titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998
1997-1998 team went 39-0
16 SEC regular season championships
15 SEC tournament championships
First woman to receive the John Bunn Award in 1990
Enshrined in the Women's Sports Foundation Hall of Fame in 1990
Named Coach of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, Ohio in 1994, 1997 and 1998
Women's Basketball Coach of the Year at the 28th and 32nd Victor Awards
Naismith College Coach of the Year - 1987, 1989, 1994, 1998, 2004
WBCA Coach of the Year - 1983, 1995, 1998
USBWA Coach of the Year - 1998
Associated Press Coach of the Year - 1998
SEC Coach of the Year - 1993, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011
Won the John and Nellie Wooden Award in 1998
Inducted into the National Association for Sport and Physical Education's Hall of Fame in 1996
She received the Casey Award, presented annually by the Kansas City Sports Commission, in 1997
Received the Governor Ned McWherter Award of Excellence in 1997
Won the 2011 Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award
Won the 2011 Maggie Dixon Courage Award
Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
Winningest active female coach in the NCAA
She is the youngest coach to reach 300 victories at age 34
The youngest to reach 400 victories at 37 years of age
The youngest coach to win 500 games at age 41
The youngest to reach the 600-win plateau at 44 years of age
The youngest coach to attain 700 wins at age 47
The youngest coach to attain 800 wins at age 50
The youngest coach to attain 900 wins at age 52
The youngest coach to attain 1000 wins at age 56
The Lady Vols have appeared in all 31 NCAA tournaments.
Has compiled 34 consecutive 21 or more win seasons
1999 ARETE Award for Courage in Sports
Lady Vols won 2000 ESPY Award as Team of the Decade
First woman and first women's basketball coach to reach 800 wins - January 14, 2003 vs. DePaul
Coached the thousandth game of her career on January 22, 2004
Surpassed Dean Smith's record of 879 wins to become No. 1 on the Division I all-time wins list on March 22, 2005 vs. Purdue
Coach of the Division I Women's Basketball 25th Anniversary Team
POEM FROM COACH SUMMITT'S PLANNER
You can love me
~~ Dan Baker ~~
~~ Dan Baker ~~
PAT SUMMITT SOUND BYTES
A Championship Run ------ Going Undefeated ------ Hall of Fame Induction - 101300
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