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Pat Summit - ex-Tennesee Women's Basketball Coach

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#1 BlueHorizons


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Posted 27 April 2012 - 12:35 PM

I know... you are probably wondering, why the heck am posting a topic about Women's college basketball?! Well, I live less than 10 miles from the campus of Notre Dame, and I've been a huge ND fan all of my life. (yeah, now I'm probably making some enemies, too) Anyhow, ND has been a contended for quite a few years and I've held season tickets off and on, over the years. (heck, there was a time when season tickets for the whole family was less than $60!!!)

Any, being an ND fan and considering the fact that Tennessee has been a perenial thorn in NDs side for quite a few years, the hate for Tennessee had been instilled in me. Seeing Pat Summit on the sidelines used to be annoying to me, because it never seemed to fail that she would outcoach Muffet McGraw, every time they met. (not surprising, given that Pat Summit is THE winningest college basketball coach - men OR women - in the history of the game) You could say that I had a dislike for her, also instilled in me.

That changed when there was a piece done on her on one of the TV news magazines (60 minutes? 20/20?). Anyhow, I got a whole new respect for her, seeing her human side, and admitting to myself that this woman can really coach.

Her announcement near the beginning of this past season that she had been diagnosed with "early stage Alzheimers" left me saddened. It really hit home, especially because my father-in-law is also battling dementia (though his is related to Parkinson's disease). It's a sad, sad thing to watch a loved one lose their mental capabilities, believe me!

Through out this season, whenever I got a chance to watch Tennesse play, I tried to take in the game, knowing that the days of watching a Summit-coached team were limited. Over the short period of time, I was able to see that she was declining. When ND played Tennessee, she was definitely not into the game like we were all used to seeing. She was rarely seen doing much other than standing stoically on the side lines; her fiery coaching style appeared to be all but gone.

Her announced retirement at the end of the season only underlined how fast the disease was apparently progressing.

She has done so much for the game of basketball, and women's basketball in particular! I wish her and her family the best as she continues to fight this debilitating disease. She will be sorely missed.

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