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Reactions to Coach Summitt's Announcement
Coach Pat Summitt

Coach Pat Summitt

Aug. 23, 2011

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tuesday's announcement regarding head coach Pat Summitt's medical diagnosis sparked many reactions around the country.

Tennessee Alumni:

Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks:"Coach Summitt you never cease to amaze me with your strength and courage. Whenever you face adversity you tackle it head on! True inspiration for me and one of the strongest women I know. I love you and we will handle this together as the Lady Vols always have, like FAMILY."

Chamique Holdsclaw, Former WNBA All-Star, Four-time Lady Vol All-American: "My heart hurts for Coach Summitt and my Tennessee family. I just cried and cried when I initially found out. She has been an important part of my life and will continue to be. God has the final say."

Kara Lawson, Connecticut Sun, ESPN Commentator: "Coach Summitt has an incredible passion for basketball and an incredible passion for life. She has been, and will continue to be, a mentor and a major influence in my life. As heartbreaking as the day has been for myself, the fans, and all those associated with the Lady Vol program, we can take comfort in knowing that this disease has never crossed a person like Coach Summitt before. We can take comfort in knowing Coach Summitt will continue to lead, pioneer, and be a role model for all of us. My sincere love and prayers go to Pat, Tyler, and their entire family."

Niya Butts, Head Coach, Arizona: "She is as tough as they come and there is nothing that she can't accomplish. You're talking about someone who's been a part of eight national championships as a coach. There's no one that's going to tell her she can't fight this fight. The university, the staff, the players, everybody's there to support her and we certainly will continue to do that. That will always be my family, and she will always be my coach. I'm there for her with everything she needs. I anticipate them working as hard as they can work, trying to make another run at a national title. I think Coach Summitt is going to do everything in her power to get that team back to a Final Four, potentially win a national title, and it would not shock me, because she is that determined, that motivated, and she's a competitor. I'm sure she is going to look at this as another challenge in her life; she's certainly had many of them. Who am I, who are we, as a public to tell her that she can't do this or she shouldn't do that. Again, for me, as a former player, someone who has connected, consider her to be family, it's certainly not the best news but I know that she will keep fighting."

Kyra Elzy, Assistant Coach, Kentucky: "Sending prayers up for Coach Summitt and the Tennessee family. It's a sad day and my heart hurts for a woman that I love. Lady Vols stand united."

Peyton Manning, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts: "I want to extend my deepest sympathies and prayers to Pat during this difficult personal time. Pat is a great friend, and I am pleased she will continue to lead her program. For many years, Pat has shaped countless lives through her sacrifice and dedication to Tennessee athletics. I ask others who admire her and who have been impacted by her work to join me in wishing Pat and her family every comfort as we respect their wishes for privacy."

Around the SEC:

Melanie Balcomb, Head Coach, Vanderbilt:"My heart goes out to Pat and her family. As a personal friend and competitor, I hope that Pat can coach as long as she wants to. She is the best I've ever coached against and I have so much respect for her. More than just a great coach, Pat is a tremendous person. Because of her strong character, she has surrounded herself with a very talented and classy staff, and I know they will be able to continue the tradition for years to come. Pat is an icon in women's basketball and has done so much for this sport. Our thoughts are with Pat and her family during such a trying time."

Amanda Butler, Head Coach, Florida:"To say that I was shocked or upset when I learned of Pat Summitt's condition is an understatement. Once you get past that initial shock of hearing such troubling news then you think about the person and you think about the challenge that's ahead of them and what they've already been dealing with. I think that toughness is a word that is synonymous with Pat Summitt. She's an example of toughness and an example of class, handling adversity and leading. We will continue to see all of those characteristics and even more in her personality in the way she'll coach her team and the way that her team will continue to compete. It's easy to get caught up in wins and losses and the number of championships an individual has won. Something like this reminds us of the human aspect of people who are competing and Coach is the best. When you're a basketball fan, or a person who played basketball or someone who hopes to coach basketball and you are from the state of Tennessee, you know who Pat Summitt is. You've followed her career. You've learned from her. You've had books signed by her. You've sat and listened to her many times as you possibly can. It feels personal to everyone, though. Pat is a powerful figure in Tennessee, but what she's done on a nation level to gain notoriety for the sport is amazing."

Matthew Mitchell, Head Coach, University of Kentucky (Former Tennessee GA) "My thoughts and prayers are with Coach Summitt and her family. She's done so much for me personally and I wouldn't be where I am professionally without the contributions she has made in my life. She has been such an incredible example to me and she is someone I care for tremendously. It took a great amount of courage to address this issue but it doesn't surprise me. She's always been a very courageous woman. My family is praying for Coach Summitt and Tyler. I also know Mickie [DeMoss] and Holly [Warlick] along with the entire Tennessee will be there for Coach Summitt during this difficult time."

John Calipari, Head Men's Coach, University of Kentucky: "Pat Summitt transcends her sport. She is more than just a coach; she is a leader in her field. Pat Summitt was one of the original promoters of women's sports and no one has done more for her sport or for women in general than she has. She will be in my daily prayers and I urge all of the Big Blue Nation to keep her in their thoughts and prayers."

Around the World of Women's Basketball:

NCAA President Mark Emmert and Vice President for Division I Women's Basketball Sue Donohoe: "Coach Summitt is a role model, trailblazer and icon for women's basketball. For years she has given so much of herself to the game she loves, always serving as a staunch advocate and supporter for her players, her teams and the women's game in general. We here at the NCAA stand shoulder to shoulder with Coach Summitt, salute her courage and candor in announcing her illness and applaud her determination to move forward. Above all, we look forward to continuing to work with and support her."

Geno Auriemma, Head Coach, Connecticut: "I was shocked and saddened to hear about the news regarding Pat Summitt's diagnosis. You don't necessarily associate dementia with people our age so this announcement really put things in perspective. Pat has great support from her family, friends and staff and I know they will help her immensely. There is no doubt in my mind that Pat will take on this challenge as she has all others during her Hall of Fame career - head on. I wish her all the best."

Dick Vitale, College Basketball Analyst: "Pat Summitt will have loads of support - She will fight like no other- God Bless - YOU ARE THE BEST!"

WBCA CEO Beth Bass: "Pat Summitt's name is synonymous with women's basketball, and the WBCA family is saddened by the news of her diagnosis. I use the term `family' in the most sincere way, because even though the women's basketball coaching community may seem dysfunctional at times, we are a family and take care of our own. Regardless of our differences, we always come together, rally around and support each other in moments like these.

"Pat is a fierce competitor. Her decision to make this diagnosis public is a testament to her courage. She will face this challenge with the same tenacity and fortitude that makes her a champion. Because of this we are confident Pat will continue to be a formidable presence in women's basketball, a game she has played such a crucial role in growing, for many years to come.

"The thoughts and prayers of the WBCA family are with Pat Summitt and the entire Lady Vols nation."

WBCA President and Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne: "We ask that you extend your support to the Lady Volunteer Coaching staff during this difficult time. We encourage everybody to do their part to be respectful of Pat's health. While many of us are competitors on the court, we are all part of a big family that has always had a tradition of `rallying around' our own. Well, put on your `rally hat' and let's be supportive and positive towards a coach who has paved the road for so many of us!"

WBCA Past-President and Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale: "I think it's important to remember that while Pat is a basketball coach, the architect of one of the most storied programs in the history of our sport, she is also a mother, and she's a daughter, and she's a friend. She's a person who life is happening to. It takes great, great courage to fight health issues; it takes even greater courage to fight them in front of the world. Pat's willingness to share this private battle speaks volumes about her strength and her character. She's modeled tenacity and endurance and optimism and faith for generations of athletes on the court. I know those athletes, we coaches, women's basketball fans, and sports fans in general will join in returning those gifts to her during this time of need."

WBCA Past-President and DePaul head coach Doug Bruno: "Coach Summitt has set the standard for all the coaches in our sport. We, all of us, try to build our programs to a level so that we can compete with the Lady Vols. When you play and try to beat Tennessee you demonstrate your respect for the excellence and competitiveness that Pat Head Summit has built at Tennessee and for the sport of women's basketball. Coach Summitt is one of the ultimate competitors in the history of sport. We all wish her the best as she faces the challenge."



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