Dec. 30, 2011
After hearing of Tennessee Lady Vol Coach Pat Summitt's diagnosis of early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type, Chamique Holdsclaw reached out to players spanning all decades of Lady Vol basketball to compile a "memory book" for their coach.
Holdsclaw, a four-time Lady Vols All-American from 1995-99, contacted former Lady Vol players, managers and staffers asking them to share written memories, Summitt's influence on their lives, and photos of their time in the program. The Astoria, N.Y., native then compiled all of the submissions into a book.
"I know my relationship with Coach Summitt through the death of my grandmother and me going through my ups and downs battling depression,'' said Holdsclaw. "What I realized from these letters is coach has helped these players through some of the most difficult times of their lives. When I'm reading them, I'm thinking, 'Wow she's had such an impact on all of our lives and just not basketball.' "
A collection of former players and managers met with Summitt this week prior to the Lady Vol basketball game against Old Dominion and presented her the book.
"It is really hard to surprise Pat,'' Holdsclaw said. "She was really excited and very touched by the book."