Tennessee Coach Pat Summit Diagnosed with Early Dementia

Long-time Tennessee Lady Vols coach and Basketball Hall of Famer was diagnosed with early-onset of dementia, the university announced in an official statement on Tuesday.

Summit, who is considered as one of the best ever to coach in the NCAA, said that she was diagnosed with dementia after consultations when the 2010-2011 season ended, but she vowed to continue coaching the Lady Vols, which she led to a total of eight national titles.

“There's not going to be any pity party and I'll make sure of that,” Summit said. “I plan to continue to be your coach. Obviously, I realize I may have some limitations with this condition since there will be some good days and some bad days.”

According to the 59-year-old coach, she has been experiencing erratic feelings earlier this year, but she didn’t thought that she already has dementia. Despite this setback, Summit, like a fighter, that she is known as, will undergo medication and mental exercises.

“I just felt something was different,” Summit said. “And at the time I didn't know what I was dealing with. Until I went to Mayo, I couldn't know for sure. But I can remember trying to coach and trying to figure out schemes and whatever and it just wasn't coming to me, like, I would typically say, 'We're going to do this, and run that.' And it probably caused me to second-guess.”

Summit spent 37 seasons in Tennessee, racking up a total of 1,071 victories including eight national championships, which were enough for her to be regarded as the winningest coach in college basketball.

The veteran Hall of Famer also coached the USA Team that won the gold medal in 1984 Olympics and she has produced WNBA superstars like Chamique Holdsclaw, Indiana Fever’s Tamika Catchings, and Los Angeles Sparks superstar Candace Parker, who offered words of support for her former coach in Tennessee.

“Coach Summit you never cease to amaze me with your strength and courage,” said Parker on her Twitter account. “Whenever you face adversity you tackle it head on! True inspiration for me and one of the strongest women I know. I love you and we will handle this together as the Lady Vols always have, like FAMILY.”


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