Aug. 23, 2011
Dear All -
Throughout my career, I have always made it a point that my life and my basketball program were an open book.
With that in mind, I have something I'd like to share with my Tennessee families -- the university, boosters and fans of Lady Vol basketball.
Once last season concluded, I addressed some ongoing concerns regarding my health. After consulting with my local physicians, I decided to visit the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Earlier this summer, the doctors at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed me with early onset dementia ("Alzheimer's Type") at the age of 59.
I plan to continue to be your coach. Obviously, I realize I may have some limitations with this condition since there will be some good days and some bad days.
For that reason, I will be relying on my outstanding coaching staff like never before. We have always collaborated on every facet of Lady Vol basketball; and now you will see Holly Warlick, Dean Lockwood and Mickie DeMoss taking on more responsibility as their duties will change significantly.
I love being your coach and the privilege to go to work every day with our outstanding Lady Vol basketball student-athletes. I appreciate the complete support of UT Chancellor Dr. Jimmy Cheek and UT Athletics Director Joan Cronan to continue coaching at the University of Tennessee as long as the good Lord is willing.
I've been honest and shared my health concerns with you, and now we'll move forward to the business at hand... coaching a great group of Lady Vols. For the time being, I hope you will respect my privacy regarding this matter.
Go Lady Vols!
Chancellor Jimmy Cheek
"It takes amazing courage for Pat to come forward and discuss her health with her players, our fans and the entire country, but that's who she is. Pat Summitt stands for courage and integrity. We will stand behind her and support her in every way possible. We look forward to her continued leadership as the Lady Vols head coach and I know that even through this adversity she will be an inspiration to all of us."
Interim Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Joan Cronan
"Pat Summitt is our head coach and she will continue to be. She is an icon not only for women's basketball but for all of women's athletics. For Pat to stand-up and share her health news is just a continuing example of her courage.
"Life is an unknown and none of us has a crystal ball. But I do have a record of knowing what Pat Summitt stands for; excellence, strength, honesty and courage."
"Pat Summitt is not only my mom, but also an incredible role model and mentor for me. It seems like she teaches me something new every day, and she is currently giving me one of the best life lessons of all: to have the courage to be open, honest, and face the truth.
"This will be a new chapter for my mom and me, and we will continue to work as a team like we always have done. We both appreciate the continued support of the Lady Vol family. Our faith is in the Lord and we trust that God has a plan for us. Looking forward, nobody is as ready for the 2011-12 basketball season to start as much as the Summitt family. God Bless."
Amy Bentley, MD, Internal Medicine Associates (Knoxville)
"Pat came to us with concerns about her health and our preliminary evaluation was suggestive of dementia. Because of her young age, Pat was referred to neurology for formal evaluation. After extensive testing, a diagnosis of early Alzheimer's was made and appropriate treatment was initiated."