The sport of basketball lost a legendary presence on Tuesday with the death of former Tennessee Lady Vols head coach Pat Summitt at the age of 64. Summitt was the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history, men’s or women’s, and was a staple in the community in Knoxville. Her 2011 diagnosis of early-onset dementia forced an abrupt retirement, and she lost the battle with the disease five years later. Tuesday morning, tributes poured out from all corners of the sports world, a testament to Summitt’s lasting impact on everybody who knew her, starting with President Obama.
Peyton Manning, who played football at Tennessee and is well aware of Summitt’s impact on the school, offered his condolences:
Here’s the statement from the WNBA, which featured many of Summitt’s former players over the years:
Here are a couple of pretty incredible stats about her sustained coaching prowess:
And the letter she got when she was offered the job as the Tennessee basketball coach.
And, finally, the most appropriate last public words from Summitt herself, dug up by USA Today‘s Nicole Auerbach:
Most people don’t receive tributes from this wide-ranging a group when they pass. Pat Summitt is not most people. The reactions to her death make it clear that she will never be forgotten, nor will her impact on the sport.