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Reaction to Pat Summitt stepping down as head coach

8:32 AM, Apr 19, 2012   |    comments
Pat Summitt cuts the net
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The University of Tennessee announced Wednesday that Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt was stepping down. 

Summitt, who has been diagnosed with early onset dementia,  has been named head coach emeritus, and still plans to take an active role in the program.  Longtime assistant Holly Warlick will take over as head coach.

Fans and friends of Coach Summitt are reacting to the news in a number of ways.

Social media:

UT President Joe DiPietro @UTPresidentJoe
#PatSummitt -- 8 national titles, 1,098 wins, 100% graduation rate, Tennessee through and through. Best wishes, Pat + Holly, Go #LadyVols

Mark Pancratz (men's basketball assistant coach)-
@patsummitt, a LEGEND that will truly never be duplicated! She has done more for the game of basketball then anybody will ever do again

Mike Hamilton (former UT athletic director)-
Only One Pat Summitt. Blessed to have worked with her. She set a new standard for Women's Basketball and has defined "Legend" in our state

Cameron Tatum (former Vols basketball player)-
I just shed a tear! She is more than just a great coach! She's a great mother, role model, and overall a great person! #WeBackPat

Bobby Maze (former Vols basketball player)
Thank u Coach Summitt for the class and leadership you have shown at Tennessee over the past 38 years...A true Vol For Life!

Nicky Anosike (former Lady Vol)-
"Dang...what's all this about Pat retiring??????? I ain't even know. Smh"  "I don't know what to say..."

Dave Ramsey-
"End of an Era. Pat Summitt becomes Coach Emeritus of UT Lady Vols. We love you Pat. You're a winner in every category."

Seattle Storm-
Thanks for sharing so many of your players with us, including @strick40.

Chuck Fleischmann-
Congrats Pat Summitt for 38 great year @UTKnoxville Sry to hear you're stepping down and we wish you the best. #tn #tn03 #ladyvols

Tamika Catchings (@catchin24)  (former Lady Vol)
@patsummitt GREATEST coach ever!!! Stepped down today but never too far. Luv ya Pat! Congrats 2 Holly Warlick. ...

Kara Lawson (karalawson20) (former Lady Vol)
"Thank You Pat Summitt!"

Robin Roberts (GMA) (@robinroberts)-
Even though #PatSummitt is stepping down as head coach...she will remain a strong presence for the Lady Vols. Much respect and love. XO

LeBron James
Love and s/o to the AMAZING Pat Summitt! What she did for the game will live forever. Changed lives daily. She'll be missed. #gamechanger

Dick Vitale-
Wish Pat Summitt all THE BEST - A GOLIATH in coaching & LIFE. #HALLOFFAMESOLIDGOLD

Indiana Fever (@indianafever)-
""It is a sad day for Tennessee sports as Pat Summitt steps aside. We have lost our John Wooden!" - Fever Coach Lin Dunn"

Candace Parker (@Candace_Parker)  (former Lady Vol)
4 yrs removed from UT I still hear "PARKER REBOUND!" in my head during games...Thanks Coach Pat, I love you! #OnceALadyVolAlwaysALadyVol

Debbie Ryan (@CoachRyanUVA)-
"My competitor, my role model and my dear friend Pat Summitt steps aside. Courageous is the only way to describe this selfless act."

Donte Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)- (former Vol football player)
I'll never forget my sophomore year, @patsummitt gave our pre-game speech before playing rival Florida... She had me too hype!! #LEGEND

Tobias Harris (@tobias31)  (former Vol basketball player)
Sad to hear Coach Summit stepping down, it's been an honor to watch her greatness. What she did for Tennessee was amazing!! #WeBackPat

Billie Jean King (@billiejking)
@PatSummitt Thank you for everything you have done. You are a true champion in life. #PatSummitt #Vols

Gov. Haslam (@BillHaslam)
2day TNans should recognize the wonderful gift .@PatSummitt has given us. Produced champs on/off the court; done so much 4 TN/UT.#WeBackPat

Tee Martin (former Vol football player)
#PatSummitt a fighter, a winner, and the ultimate champion.. There will never be another #MuchLovePat!

Other reaction:

President Obama

"The President would like to congratulate Pat Summitt, the all-time wins leader among college basketball coaches, on a truly outstanding career and commend her for her work as a spokesperson in the fight against Alzheimer's through the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund. Coach Summitt is an inspiration to us all, and both the President and First Lady wish her well."

Kim Mulkey

"Pat Summitt is the legend that John Wooden is on the men's side. I have always looked up to her on both a personal and professional level and our sport owes her so much. Pat started coaching at a young age and no one will ever pass her on anything that she has done. There may be coaches that have more national championships but there will never be anyone who has meant so much to women's basketball. Pat now moves to the next chapter of her life. I'd like to thank Tyler, her son, for sharing her with us, now she gets to call the shots and gets to take care of herself and Tyler." 

Peyton Manning:

"Through the dedication and selflessness Pat Summitt has shown at the University of Tennessee, she has made an immeasurable impact both on and off the basketball court during her Hall of Fame career. The strength and perseverance that have defined her as a coach, mentor and role model were never more visible than through the incredible courage she displayed this past season. Without question, Pat is one of the strongest people I know. It is no surprise that she has not backed down from a challenge.

"I have always had a great deal of respect and admiration for Pat, and I am truly honored to call her a friend. I look forward to watching her continue to inspire others in her new role at the University of Tennessee."


UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma:

"Pat's vision for the game of women's basketball and her relentless drive pushed the game to a new level and made it possible for the rest of us to accomplish what we did. In her new role, I'm sure she will continue to make significant impacts on the University of Tennessee and on the game of women's basketball as a whole."

"I am thrilled for Holly as this opportunity is well deserved and Pat will be a huge asset to her moving forward."

LSU women's basketball head coach Nikki Caldwell, who played and coached under legendary Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt, issued the following statement on Wednesday afternoon after the announcement of Summitt stepping down as head coach after 38 seasons:

"Coach Summitt is the reason I am a coach and why I am here (at LSU) today. She gave me an opportunity to go into coaching as a graduate assistant in 1998. More importantly, she has always been there for me since I was 18 years old. She's my mentor, my friend and a part of my family and that will last forever. She has been a pioneer in opening doors for women in so many areas. Those who have played or coached for Coach Summitt always take a part of her with us wherever we go in our respective jobs. I've taken her with me in teaching young ladies to be the very best they can be. Her influence on this game, the University of Tennessee and the Southeastern Conference will always be impactful. That will continue in any role she plays."

Caldwell also released the following statement on associate head coach Holly Warlick being named Tennessee head coach:

"Holly (Warlick) is so deserving of this and she is going to do an unbelievable job. She is someone who shares the same resume, if you will, as Coach Summitt because she has been there for every practice, every workout and every championship. She has carried the responsibilities of a head coach. I've known Holly for a long time and she bleeds orange and white. She is going to be a tremendous leader as head coach of the Lady Vols."

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) spoke on the floor of the Senate about University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Team Head Coach Pat Summitt's retirement. Click here to watch the entire video

"There will be much said about her winning record and it's an astonishing accomplishment. 1,098 wins in basketball, more than any other coach, man or woman, in the sport; eight national championships in the Southeastern Conference, 32 Southeastern Conference titles, 31 straight trips to the NCAA tournament. But the statistic that I always valued most, especially when I was President of the University, was every single one of Pat Summitt's athletes who have completed their eligibility with her, have graduated from the University of Tennessee. That's over 38 years." U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) joined Sen. Alexander in applauding Coach Summitt's career, saying "she has set the standard and I join you in your praise of her."

U. S. Congressman Jimmy Duncan (R-Knoxville) posted this to his Facebook page:

"With news today of Pat Summitt retiring as Lady Vols head coach, I thought I would share some remarks I made on the House floor in 2009 when I sponsored a resolution honoring her 1,000th win. As I said then, she is an outstanding individual in every way, and I could not be more proud of her career."

Quote From Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer On Pat Summitt Stepping Aside At Tennessee

"Words cannot adequately describe the extraordinary career that Pat Summitt has had in the world of basketball. She is a model of class and courage, and I don't think that enough can be said for just how much Pat has accomplished in building and elevating women's basketball to its current heights. Pat is Tennessee Basketball.

"I am very happy that Pat will be continuing her work with Tennessee as Head Coach Emeritus, and I will miss seeing her on the sidelines on game day.

"This will be a great opportunity for Holly, Tennessee Basketball is in great hands with her. Holly has learned from the absolute best, and I wish her the best of luck."

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann issued the following statement upon hearing that Pat Summitt is stepping down as Tennessee Lady Vols head coach.

"Pat Summitt is more than just a coach. She has been a mentor to countless young women and is a living legend throughout the State of Tennessee. Not only has she led eight teams to national championships, she also leaves her post as the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history. I thank Pat Summitt for her incredible work on behalf of my alma mater, and I know that we will all miss her indelible imprint on our landscape," Fleischmann said.

Representative Scott DesJarlais (TN-04) released the following statement regarding the announcement that Pat Summitt will step down as head coach of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball team.

"In today's society we throw around words such as legend. But with Coach Pat Summit, that title fits. 38 years. 1,098 wins. 16 Southeastern Conference Championships. 16 SEC Tournament Championships. 18 Final Four Appearances. 8 National Championships. Every Lady Vol player who has finished her eligibility at Tennessee has graduated. Pat Summitt has been a monumental figure in the world of sport and, most importantly, she has been a guiding force in the lives of so many young people. She has been a pioneer in women's athletics. Her leadership and sportsmanship are universally admired by her colleagues. If a Mount Rushmore of college coaches existed, her image would be etched upon it.

"Coach Summit's life both off and on the court should serve as a model for anyone to strive toward. I'm pleased she will still remain an important part of the program. Lady Vol fans will look forward to her continued presence as an integral part of Tennessee's storied program. I want to wish her and her family all the best as she begins a new chapter in her life."

On Campus:

"(Summitt) always making sure her students are her main priority. They have to sit in the front roe of classes...academics is something she doesn't take likely," said UT junior Rhett Pratt.

"It's good that she's around, but she's not on the court... her presence in general. She was such a strong figure," said UT junior Zack Freeman.

"She made the Lady Vols proud and there are some tough shoes to fill," said UT senior and Lady Vol Chelsea Knotts.

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