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Summitt, winningest coach in D1 history, has died at 64

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Milestone victories of Pat Summitt

No. 1: Jan. 10, 1975 — In her second game as a head coach, the 22-year-old Summitt (then known as Pat Head) led Tennessee to a 69-32 victory over Middle Tennessee State in front of 53 fans in Knoxville, Tennessee.

No. 100: Jan. 13, 1979 — She reaches the century mark in her fourth season with a 79-66 victory over North Carolina State in Raleigh, North Carolina.

No. 200: Dec. 3, 1982 — She needs even less time to earn her second 100 wins than it took to get her first 100. Three seasons later, the 200th comes as a 69-56 victory over St. John’s in Detroit as part of the Coca-Cola Classic.

Olympic gold: Aug. 7, 1984 — Chery Miller has 16 points and 11 rebounds as a U.S. Olympic team coached by Summitt breezes by South Korea, 85-55, in the championship game, giving the U.S. its first gold medal in women’s basketball.

No. 300: Jan. 4, 1987 — Summitt earns her 300th victory in an 87-68 win over North Carolina in Knoxville in what will become Tennessee’s first national championship season.

No. 319: March 29, 1987 — She wins her first national championship in Austin, Texas, when Tennessee rolls to a 67-44 victory over Louisiana Tech, which had beaten the Lady Vols nine straight times. Seven times before, Summitt had led Tennessee to an AIAW or NCAA semifinal without winning the title.

No. 385: April 2, 1989 — Bridgette Gordon scores 27 points as Tennessee beats Auburn 76-60 in Tacoma, Washington, to give Summitt her second national championship.

No. 400: Jan. 25, 1990 — Tennessee edges South Carolina 70-69 in Columbia, South Carolina, for Summitt’s 400th career victory.

No. 442: March 31, 1991 — In the first NCAA women’s basketball final to go to overtime, Dena Head scores 28 points as Tennessee wins its third national title with a 70-67 victory over Virginia in New Orleans.

No. 500: Nov. 21, 1993 — Vonda Ward’s 17 points and 11 rebounds help Summitt earn her 500th career win with an 80-45 rout of Ohio State in the inaugural State Farm Classic in Jackson, Tennessee. Ohio State is coached by Nancy Darsch, who had been an assistant on Summitt’s Tennessee staff from 1978-85.

No. 596: March 31, 1996 — After beating Connecticut in an overtime semifinal, Tennessee rolls to an 83-65 win over Georgia in Charlotte, North Carolina, to give Summitt her fourth national championship. Chamique Holdsclaw and Tiffany Johnson each score 16 points.

No. 600: Nov. 23, 1996 — Summitt receives a cake from Vermont Gov. Howard Dean after Tennessee beats Marquette 83-68 in the Howard Bank Classic at Burlington, Vermont. The victory improves Summitt’s career record to 600-134.

No. 625: March 30, 1997 — Chamique Holdsclaw scores 24 points as Tennessee earns its second straight national title with a 68-59 win over Old Dominion in Cincinnati. The latest title gives Summitt a career total of five national championships.

No. 664: March 29, 1998 — Chamique Holdsclaw, Tamika Catchings and Semeka Randall combine for 62 points and 25 rebounds as Tennessee caps an undefeated season by winning its third straight national title with a 93-75 victory over Louisiana Tech in Kansas City, Missouri. The 39-0 season ends with Summitt’s sixth national championship.

No. 700: Dec. 5, 1999 — Tennessee’s 85-62 victory over Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, allows Summitt to join Texas’ Jody Conradt as the only women’s basketball coaches at the time with 700 career wins.

No. 800: Jan. 14, 2003 — Summitt gets a cake during a postgame ceremony that includes fireworks, balloons and flowers after Tennessee trounces DePaul 76-57 in Knoxville.

No. 876: March 4, 2005 — Summitt ties Adolph Rupp for second place on the all-time wins list by any men’s or women’s coach as Tennessee beats 64-54 Auburn in the Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinals at Greenville, South Carolina.

No. 877: March 5, 2005 — Summitt passes Rupp when Tennessee beats Vanderbilt 76-73 in the semifinals of the SEC tournament in Greenville, South Carolina. Tennessee would go on to win the tournament.

No. 879: March 20, 2005 — Tennessee’s 94-43 over Western Carolina in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Knoxville allows Summitt to tie Dean Smith for first on the all-time win list among men’s or women’s coaches.

No. 880: March 22, 2005 — Summitt passes Smith when Tennessee beats Purdue 75-54 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Knoxville. The school honors the coach in a surprise ceremony by naming its basketball court at Thompson-Boling Arena “The Summitt.”

No. 900: Jan. 19, 2006 — Alexis Hornbuckle scores 15 points as Tennessee rallies from a 14-point deficit to give Summitt her 900th career victory in an 80-68 win over Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee.

No. 947: March 3, 2007 — Candace Parker scores 17 points and Nicky Anosike gets 16 rebounds as Tennessee beats Rutgers 59-46 in Cleveland to give Summitt her seventh national championship.

No. 983: March 8, 2008 — Candace Parker’s 17 points help Summitt win her eighth and final national title with a 64-48 victory over Stanford in Tampa, Florida.

No. 1,000: Feb. 5, 2009 — Summitt becomes the first men’s or women’s coach in college basketball history to reach 1,000 wins when Tennessee trounces Georgia 73-43 in Knoxville. Tennessee had lost 80-70 to No. 2 Oklahoma at Oklahoma City three days earlier in Summitt’s first attempt at the 1,000th win.

No. 1,098: March 24, 2012 — Meighan Simmons scores 22 points off the bench as Tennessee rallies from 14 points down to give Summitt her final victory in an 84-73 regional semifinal win over Kansas at Des Moines, Iowa. Tennessee would lose 77-58 to eventual national champion Baylor two days later.

Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Pat Summitt, the winningest coach in Division I college basketball history who uplifted the women’s game from obscurity to national prominence during her 38-year career at Tennessee, died Tuesday morning. She was 64.

With an icy glare on the sidelines, Summitt led the Lady Vols to eight national championships and prominence on a campus steeped in the traditions of the football-rich south until she retired in 2012.

Her son, Tyler Summitt, issued a statement Tuesday morning saying his mother died peacefully 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,” Tyler Summitt said. “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.”

Summitt helped grow college women’s basketball as her Lady Vols dominated the sport in the late 1980s and 1990s, winning six titles in 12 years. Tennessee — the only school she coached — won NCAA titles in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1996-98 and 2007-08. Summitt had a career record of 1,098-208 in 38 seasons, plus 18 NCAA Final Four appearances.

She announced in 2011 at age 59 that she’d been diagnosed with early onset dementia. She coached one more season before stepping down. At her retirement, Summitt’s eight national titles ranked behind the 10 won by former UCLA men’s coach John Wooden. UConn coach Geno Auriemma passed Summitt after she retired.

When she stepped down, Summitt called her coaching career a “great ride.”

Peyton Manning, who sought Summitt’s advice about returning for to Tennessee for his senior season or going to the NFL, said 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,” Manning said in a statement. “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.”

Summitt was a tough taskmaster with a frosty glower that could strike the fear of failure in her players. She punished one team that stayed up partying before an early morning practice by running them until they vomited. She even placed garbage cans in the gym so they’d have somewhere to be sick.

Nevertheless, she enjoyed such an intimate relationship with her players that they called her “Pat.”

Known for her boundless energy, Summitt set her clocks ahead a few minutes to stay on schedule.

“The lady does not slow down, ever,” one of her players, Kellie Jolly, said in 1998. “If you can ever catch her sitting down doing nothing, you are one special person.”

Summitt never had a losing record and her teams made the NCAA Tournament every season. She began her coaching career at Tennessee in the 1974-75 season, when her team finished 16-8.

With a 75-54 victory against Purdue on March 22, 2005, she earned her 880th victory, moving her past North Carolina’s Dean Smith as the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history. She earned her 1,000th career win with a 73-43 victory against Georgia on Feb. 5, 2009.

Summitt won 16 Southeastern Conference regular season titles, as well as 16 conference tournament titles. She was an eight-time SEC coach of the year and seven-time NCAA coach of the year. She also coached the U.S. women’s Olympic team to the 1984 gold medal.

Summitt’s greatest adversary on the court was Auriemma. The two teams played 22 times from 1995-2007. Summitt ended the series after the 2007 season.

“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,” Auriemma said at the time of her retirement.

In 1999, Summitt was inducted as part of the inaugural class of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. She made the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame a year later. In 2013, she also was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Summitt was such a competitor that she refused to let a pilot land in Virginia when she went into labor while on a recruiting trip in 1990. Virginia had beaten her Lady Vols a few months earlier, preventing them from playing for a national title on their home floor.

But it was only in 2012 when being honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award that Summitt shared she had six miscarriages before giving birth to her son, Tyler.

She was born June 14, 1952, in Henrietta, Tennessee, and graduated from Cheatham County Central High School just west of Nashville. She played college basketball at the University of Tennessee at Martin where she received her bachelor’s degree in physical education. She was the co-captain of the 1976 U.S. Olympic team, which won the silver medal.

After playing at UT Martin, she was hired as a graduate assistant at Tennessee and took over when the previous head coach left.

She wrote a motivational book in 1998, “Reach for the Summitt.” Additionally, she worked with Sally Jenkins on “Raise the Roof,” a book about the 1997-98 championship season, and also detailed her battle with dementia in a memoir, “Sum It Up,” released in March 2013 and also co-written with Jenkins.

“It’s hard to pinpoint the exact day that I first noticed something wrong,” Summitt wrote. “Over the course of a year, from 2010 to 2011, I began to experience a troubling series of lapses. I had to ask people to remind me of the same things, over and over. I’d ask three times in the space of an hour, ‘What time is my meeting again?’ – and then be late.”

Summitt started a foundation in her name to fight Alzheimer’s in 2011 that has raised millions of dollars.

After she retired, Summitt was given the title head coach emeritus at Tennessee. She had been cutting back her public appearances over the past few years. She came to a handful of Tennessee games this past season and occasionally also traveled to watch her son Tyler coach at Louisiana Tech the last two years.

Earlier this year, Summitt moved out of her home into an upscale retirement resort when her regular home underwent renovations.

Summitt is the only person to have two courts used by NCAA Division I basketball teams named in her honor: “Pat Head Summitt Court” at the University of Tennessee-Martin, and “The Summitt” at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She also has two streets named after her: “Pat Summitt Street” on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville campus and “Pat Head Summitt Avenue” on the University of Tennessee-Martin campus.

She is survived by her mother, Hazel Albright Head; son, Tyler Summitt; sister, Linda; brothers, Tommy, Charles and Kenneth. Tyler Summitt said a private funeral and burial will be held in Middle Tennessee and asked that the family’s privacy be respected. A public memorial service is being planned for Thompson-Boling Arena.

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