Friends and family of Pat Summitt have gathered in Knoxville over concerns of the declining health of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coach.
Several people have shown support for the University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach on social media, with many praying for her health. Sources have reported that Summitt is not doing well and her family and friends are preparing to bid farewell.
A statement released by the Pat Summitt foundation on late Sunday shed light on her condition. “On behalf of Pat Summitt’s family, we acknowledge the past few days have been difficult for Pat as her early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ progresses,” the statement said. “She is surrounded by those who mean the most to her and during this time, we ask for prayers for Pat and her family and friends, as well as your utmost respect and privacy. Thank you.”
According to WBIR, Summitt had turned 64 years old this month. She disclosed her diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s disease in August 2011.
She served as the coach of the 2011-12 season before she stepped down. She is credited with as many as 1,098 wins and eight national championships (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2997 and 2008) in her 38 year career.
She was first taken onboard by the Lady Vols as a coach in 1974. She was 22 then. Two years later, she became the co-captain of the U.S. team which bagged the silver medal in the Olympics. She coached the 1984 team which went on to clinch the gold medal at the Olympics. While she was the coach in 47 percent of the games against ranked opponents, she had a .913 winning percentage at home.
In addition, she also served as the coach of 21 All-American players, 39 All-SEC players and 12 Olympians, WBIR reports.
According to the Tennessean, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in April 2012. A July 2013 documentary “Pat XO” chronicled her accomplishments. The Pat Summitt Plaza was dedicated to the legendary women’s basketball coach in November 2013, which also included a statue. She was inducted into the class of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville in 1999, and into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
The campaign “We Back Pat” started soon after the announcement of Summitt’s medical diagnosis. She and her son, Tyler, formed the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund in November 2011, the proceeds of which go toward research for Alzheimer’s.