Pat Summitt Bio, Life And Death, What Disease Did She Die Of?

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With regards to the game of basketball, Pat Summitt was a notable ruler during her time. Through her impeccable coaching skills, Summitt, an American women’s college basketball head coach earned the respect of various sports stakeholders and was placed on a high pedestal among her counterparts.

She was a coach for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols women basketball team for 38 years before her retirement and death. The iconic sportswoman maintained the challenging record of not having too many losses until the time of her retirement. It can be recalled that the outstanding coach got two offers from Tennessee to coach the men’s team.

She was regarded as the toughest and strongest in both men and women basketball. Pat was widely known for her signature stern stare which she served her players when they don’t deliver. Summitt, who is often regarded as the unbeatable woman coach,  remains an inspiration to women in sports and men as well, given her outstanding records. Pat Summitt was not only a sportswoman but also a writer; find out more about the life of the late women basketball coach.

Pat Summitt Bio – Life and Death

She was born on June 14, 1952, in Clarksville Tennesse as Patricia Sue Head. She was the fourth of five children of her parents; Richard and Hazel Albright. Fondly called Trish when she was younger, Summitt found a connection with basketball at a very young age. Her love for the sport was what inspired her family to move to Henrietta when she was in school, as Clarksville had no girls team.

She attended the Univeristy of Tennessee at a time when there was nothing like athletic schorlarships for women. Summitt enrolled into the school where she joined the Chi Omega Sorority and played for the school’s first women basketball coach, Nadie Gearin. Having no scholarship to back her up, she sold doughnuts and did other things like washing players’ uniforms – jobs that earned her about $250 per month.

Pat became a graduate assistant at the university just before the 1974 season; at the time, women basketball still had no NCAA approval. She subsequently became the head coach of the Lady Vols. Summitt made her first win at the season when the Vols defeated Middle Tennessee State in January 1975. She was also a co-captain for the United States women’s national basketball team at the 1976 Summer Olympics’ inaugural tournament. That same year, she earned a masters’ degree in physical education and training. The NCAA’s inclusion of women started to become a reality in the 80s and Summitt took part the first NCAA women’s basketball tournament in the 1981-82 season. Advancing to the final four, the Lady Vols eventually lost in the game against Louisana Tech.

In the 90s, Pat Summitt had clinched her 500th win, at the game against Ohio State during the start of the 1993-94 season. Per analysis, Summitts’s best records were made during the 1997-98 season, when the Lady Vols recorded a 39-0 throughout the period, despite playing with top-notch teams. The Vols also clinched a 30 win during the 1999 season, closing the curtains as the co-team of the decade, a title adjudged the team at the 2000 ESPY awards. Also at the awards, Summitt was named the Naismith Coach of the Century. The renowned coach led the Lady Vols to their fifth straight victory at the SEC championship in the 2001-02 season. She reached her 1000th win at the 2008-09 season after defeating Georgia Lady Bulldogs.

Before her first NCAA tournament, Pat got married to Ross Barnes Summitt II in 1980. However, they both went for a divorce in 2007. The couple had a son together – Ross Tyler Summitt.


The iconic coach announced her retirement during the 2012-13 season. This was the same year her son Tyler became an assistant coach for the Marquette University women’s team. Pat Summitt died on June 28, 2016, after her 64 birthday.

What Disease Did She Die of ?

Pat Summitt revealed her diagnosis of early onset of Alzheimer’s disease in 2011. This did not stop her from coaching her team to the end of the 2011-12 season. During that time, she left most of the work for her assistant, Holly Warlick. It seemed like her inactivity at the time affected the team as they ended with a loss to champions Baylor Lady Bears. Summitt was getting weaker and had to take a bow sooner than later. She resigned in April 2012 and requested that her assistant be given the position. By the end of her coaching career, the iconic coach had recorded 1098 wins in 1306 games.

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