Social media reaction and statements to Pat Summitt's passing
A number of people around the country are posting to social media to express their thoughts, prayers and support for Pat Summitt.
Summitt died early Tuesday morning at the age of 64 at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville.
A number of prominent figures released statements upon hearing news of Summit’s passing.
Holly Warlick, University of Tennessee women’s head basketball coach 2012-present, assistant coach under Pat Summitt from 1985-2012, player for Summitt from 1976-1980
Peyton Manning, Tennessee Volunteers quarterback from 1994-1997 and future NFL Hall of Famer
I’ve always been honored to call Pat Summitt my friend. She was always very supportive of my career and I enjoyed seeing her back at a Tennessee football game or when she would come to Indianapolis to see Tamika Catchings play. We would always get together and I made it a point when I came to Knoxville to visit with her.
She was one of the people I consulted with following my junior year when I was deciding whether to turn pro early or stay in college. She gave me some very valuable advice during that time. My teammates and I went to a lot of Lady Vols games when we were in school, and I really enjoyed watching her teams play.
I just always appreciated Pat’s friendship and support. I was always impressed with how all of her former players spoke about her. You speak to people like Tamika Catchings or Chamique Holdsclaw, and they just talk about the role that Pat played in all their lives on and off the court. You can just tell the impact that she had on those players.
It would have been a great experience to play for her. She could have coached any team, any sport, men’s or women’s. It wouldn’t have mattered because Pat could flat out coach. I will miss her dearly, and I am honored to call her my friend. My thoughts and prayers are with Tyler and their entire family.
President Barack Obama
Nobody walked off a college basketball court victorious more times than Tennessee’s Pat Summitt. For four decades, she outworked her rivals, made winning an attitude, loved her players like family, and became a role model to millions of Americans, including our two daughters. Her unparalleled success includes never recording a losing season in 38 years of coaching, but also, and more importantly, a 100 percent graduation rate among her players who completed their athletic eligibility. Her legacy, however, is measured much more by the generations of young women and men who admired Pat’s intense competitiveness and character, and as a result found in themselves the confidence to practice hard, play harder, and live with courage on and off the court. As Pat once said in recalling her achievements, “What I see are not the numbers. I see their faces.”
Pat learned early on that everyone should be treated the same. When she would play basketball against her older brothers in the family barn, they didn’t treat her any differently and certainly didn’t go easy on her. Later, her Hall of Fame career would tell the story of the historic progress toward equality in American athletics that she helped advance. Pat started playing college hoops before Title IX and started coaching before the NCAA recognized women’s basketball as a sport. When she took the helm at Tennessee as a 22-year-old, she had to wash her players’ uniforms; by the time Pat stepped down as the Lady Vols’ head coach, her teams wore eight championship rings and had cut down nets in sold-out stadiums.
Pat was a patriot who earned Olympic medals for America as a player and a coach, and I was honored to award her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was a proud Tennessean who, when she went into labor while on a recruiting visit, demanded the pilot return to Knoxville so her son could be born in her home state. And she was an inspiring fighter. Even after Alzheimer’s started to soften her memory, and she began a public and brave fight against that terrible disease, Pat had the grace and perspective to remind us that “God doesn’t take things away to be cruel. … He takes things away to lighten us. He takes things away so we can fly.”
Michelle and I send our condolences to Pat Summitt’s family – which includes her former players and fans on Rocky Top and across America.
Dave Hart, University of Tennessee athletic director
We are deeply saddened by today’s news of Pat Summitt’s passing. We send our deepest condolences to her son, Tyler, and to her family and friends.
Pat Summitt is synonymous with Tennessee, but she truly is a global icon who transcended sports and spent her entire life making a difference in other peoples’ lives. She was a genuine, humble leader who focused on helping people achieve more than they thought they were capable of accomplishing. Pat was so much more than a Hall of Fame coach; she was a mother, mentor, leader, friend, humanitarian and inspiration to so many. Her legacy will live on through the countless people she touched throughout her career.
Photos: Pat Summitt through the years
Butch Jones, University of Tennessee football coach from 2013-present
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Pat Summitt. I had the privilege of spending time with Pat during my first year at Tennessee, and those are conversations I will cherish forever. When you think of all the great coaches in all sports, Pat Summitt is at the top of that list.
As a coach, I stand in awe of Pat and what she accomplished on and off the court. She is someone I admired when I decided I wanted to get into coaching. You study all the great coaches, the traits that made them successful, and you try to incorporate those into your own program and teams. She demanded excellence and her teams played to her personality.
It was about more than basketball for her, it was about life. She wanted every player that left the program to be prepared for the next stage of their life. Every player received a degree, and that was as important to her as any win on the court. She wouldn’t settle for anything but the best effort on the court and in the classroom.
Phillip Fulmer, former University of Tennessee head football coach from 1992-2008
Pat Summitt was many things to many people. Pat was a great person, loving mother, passionate coach, and loyal friend. We shared a lot of years working together and spreading the word about Tennessee Athletics. We had wonderful personal times talking about life, our respective teams, or helping each other recruit. Her legacy as a basketball coach is iconic, but her greatest legacy may well be through The Pat Summitt Foundation and her role in leading the battle against Alzheimer's!
Joan Cronan, former University of Tennessee director of women’s athletics
Words are not adequate for my feelings at this time. Pat Summitt was the most courageous person I’ve ever known in fighting this disease. She was determined to make a difference in bringing attention to the disease and she has done that. She fought the good fight and all of us who loved her will continue that fight on her behalf through the Pat Summitt Foundation.
As you know I worked with Pat for over 30 years. People would refer to me as her boss and I always remarked, Pat Summitt has no boss. She was the ultimate leader who led by example with strength, character and integrity but also with care. She loved her family and players with a fierceness equalled only by that renowned stare of hers.
The legacy she leaves is immense. Her players, who all have college degrees, have been enriched by her teaching. They are coaches, professors, television personalities, businesswomen, all now making a difference in their world because of Pat Summitt.
There will never be another Pat Summitt. She belongs to the ages now and we are sad but so fortunate to have called her a colleague and friend.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee
I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Pat Summitt. Basketball has lost a legend, and Tennessee has lost one of its most beloved daughters.
There is perhaps no one who left a more indelible mark on his or her profession than Coach Summitt. Through her 38 years as head coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers, she amassed a historic record of achievement and blazed a trail for women across our country. The impact she had on her players, the University of Tennessee, the Knoxville community, and the game of basketball will be felt for years to come. I join all Tennesseans today in celebrating her life and extend my thoughts and prayers to her son, Tyler, the Lady Vol family, and all those who were touched by her remarkable life.
Patricia Sue Head Summitt Obituary
June 14, 1952 - June 28, 2016
“You win in life with people.”
This is one simple statement that Patricia Sue Head Summitt embodied, lived by and passed on to so many throughout her 64 years of life. She ‘won’ every day of her life because of the relationships she developed, nurtured and cherished. Relationships with her family and friends. Relationships with players, coaches, and fans. And most importantly, a strong relationship with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
On Tuesday, June 28 2016, Pat passed away peacefully, following a courageous battle with early onset dementia, “Alzheimer’s Type.” This disease attacked a lifetime of precious memories, memories that she has now won back as she rests in her eternal home. Memories that will live on in each and every relationship she developed throughout her life.
Born to the late-Richard and Hazel Albright Head on June 14, 1952, in Clarksville, Tenn., Pat was the fourth of five children. Her tireless work ethic was developed early in life as she handled a variety of daily chores on her family’s farm, while never missing a day of school. She worked hard to keep up with her three older brothers, who taught her the game of basketball – a game that would later become a passion and profession for her.
After graduating from Cheatham County High in Ashland City in 1970, she went on to the University of Tennessee-Martin, earning a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1974 and leading the women’s basketball team to two national championship tournaments. Her ability to be a leader on the basketball court was evident, and shortly after graduating, she accepted a position at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville as the head coach of the women’s basketball team – as a 22-year old.
For the next 38 years, the farm girl from Henrietta, Tenn. would impact the game of women’s basketball like no one in the history of the sport. She guided the Lady Vols to eight NCAA championships, 32 combined Southeastern Conference titles and became the winningest NCAA D-1 basketball coach of all time on March 22, 2005. She was named the NCAA Coach of the Year seven times and the Naismith Coach of the Century in 2000.
Pat also excelled internationally, as both a coach and player. As a player, she was a co-captain of the 1976 U.S. women’s team, earning the silver medal during the Olympic Games held in Montreal. She then went on to coach the U.S. Junior National and U.S. National teams to multiple championships and medals, culminating with a magical run as head coach of the 1984 U.S. Women’s Olympic team, leading them to the gold medal during the XXIII Olympiad in Los Angeles.
Of all the records, awards, and stats, Pat would point to one number as the most significant in her career – 161. This is the number of Lady Vols who contributed to the 1,098 wins over the span of her illustrious career. To these 161 student-athletes she was more than a coach – she was a friend, mentor and a loving mother.
Motherhood suited Pat, and on September 21, 1990, she and R.B. Summitt II had their first and only child, Ross “Tyler” Summitt. The relationship between a mother and son is a special one, and they had an unbreakable bond built on their love for God and for one another. They also shared a passion for the game of basketball, a game that would provide the two of them many unique moments and milestones, side by side.
She was most proud of one special moment they shared that outshines all the others. On May 5, 2012, Pat and Tyler were baptized together. On this day, they decided together to go public with their faith and professed their love for and acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. On this day, they created the ultimate and eternal memory, together.
Pat is survived by her mother, Hazel Albright Head; son, Ross “Tyler” Summitt (AnDe); sister, Linda; brothers, Tommy (Deloris), Charles (Mitzi) and Kenneth (Debbie).
A private service and burial for family and friends will be held in Middle Tennessee. A public service to celebrate her life will take place at Thompson-Boling Arena, on the campus of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Details for the celebration of life will be shared at a later date.
Memorial gifts may be made to The Pat Summitt Foundation by visiting http://www.patsummitt.org/donatewww.patsummitt.org/donate.
It is with deep sadness that The Pat Summitt Foundation announces the passing of our beloved Pat Summitt. https://t.co/iE1ZCf1UPa— Pat Summitt Fnd (@WeBackPat) June 28, 2016
Bob Kesling, the lead announcer for the Vol Radio Network
Joe DiPietro, University of Tennessee system president
“To the world, she was an icon. To women’s basketball, she was a pioneering legend. To the University of Tennessee, she will always be our beloved hero. Pat Summitt has left us far too soon, and we in the UT family offer our deepest sympathies to Pat’s family and loved ones.”
Dr. Joe Johnson, University of Tennessee president emeritus
“Pat Summitt set a high standard for excellence in women’s basketball while she inspired her student athletes to achieve at a remarkable level on the basketball court, in the classroom and in the community. She always represented the University of Tennessee in an exemplary way in whatever she did. And, she was a stellar example of high character for her student athletes and the rest of us.”
Josh Dobbs, University of Tennessee Volunteers quarterback 2013-present
Tim Burchett, Knox County mayor
Pat Head Summitt was more than a legendary basketball coach; she was a legendary person. Her character went beyond the basketball court, and she worked to ensure her players knew the same was expected of them.
Our families have known each other since they all lived in middle Tennessee years ago, when my grandfather was her family's banker. She was always kind to my family, and I appreciate her encouraging words when my parents passed away. I pray that Tyler and the rest of Pat's family can find peace at this time. She will be missed.
Madeline Rogero, Knoxville mayor
Our sorrows are with Pat Summitt’s family. Knoxville and the world have lost a great spirit and a great friend.
The Henley Bridge lights will be changed to orange, white & blue tonight in remembrance of Coach Summitt's deep devotion to Knoxville.— Mayor Rogero (@MayorRogero) June 28, 2016
Dana Hart, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame president
Shaquille O’Neal, elected to the 2016 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Tyler Summitt, son of Pat Summitt
It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the passing of my mother, Patricia Sue Head Summitt.
She died peacefully this morning at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville surrounded by those who loved her most.
Since 2011, my mother has battled her toughest opponent, early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ and she did so with bravely fierce determination just as she did with every opponent she ever faced. Even though it’s incredibly difficult to come to terms that she is no longer with us, we can all find peace in knowing she no longer carries the heavy burden of this disease.
For 64 years, my mother first built her life upon a strong relationship with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Her foundation was also built upon love of her family and of her players, and love of the fundamentals of hard work which reflected her philosophy that ‘you win in life with people’.
She was the fourth of five children – Tommy, Charles, Kenneth and Linda – born to Richard and Hazel Head on June 14, 1952, in Clarksville, Tenn. Her tireless work ethic and her love of the game of basketball were created during the time she spent growing up on the family farm.
She’ll be remembered as the all-time winningest D-1 basketball coach in NCAA history, but she was more than a coach to so many – she was a hero and a mentor, especially to me, her family, her friends, her Tennessee Lady Volunteer staff and the 161 Lady Vol student-athletes she coached during her 38-year tenure.
We will all miss her immensely.
A private service and burial will be held for my mother in Middle Tennessee. I ask that you respect the privacy of that time.
We are in the process of finalizing the details of a public celebration of her life which will take place in one of her favorite places, Thompson-Boling Arena. Once those details are finalized, we will share them with you.