The career of one of the greatest women’s basketball coaches of all-time, if not the greatest, has come to a close after 38 incredible years.
The University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers head-coach, Pat Summitt, announced earlier today that she will be stepping down from her head-coaching position, and that long-time assistant and former player, Holly Warlick, will be taking her place.
The decision comes less than a year after the legendary coach was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
In a statement released today by the university, Summitt stated, “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. I want to help ensure the stability of the program going forward. I would like to emphasize that I fully intend to continue working as head coach emeritus, mentoring and teaching life skills to our players, and I will continue my active role as a spokesperson in the fight against Alzheimer’s through the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund.”
Though the Lady Vols have not had the recent success they have historically been known for thanks to Summitt, what an amazing legacy she leaves behind.
In her 38 seasons with Tennessee, Summitt led her teams to a 1,098-208 record (an 84% winning percentage), 16 SEC regular season titles, 16 SEC tournament titles, and 8 national championships–the most by any women’s team in history, and second only to John Wooden’s UCLA men’s squads.
She is the only college coach, in the men’s or women’s game, to reach 1,000 career wins.
In her 38 years as a head-coach, she never once posted a losing season, and never failed to reach the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to her collegiate coaching career, she lead the USA Women’s Basketball team to a gold medal in the 1984 Olympic Games.
In 1999, Summitt was inducted to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of their inaugural class, and she was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
Though it is difficult to see such an amazing career come to an end at the hands of such a heartless and tragic disease, Summitt, a pioneer of the women’s game, leaves behind a legacy that will never again be matched.