With 'Mom doing great,' Tyler Summitt talks of moving on

Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt, right, and her son Tyler Summitt hug in greeting just before making a presentation at halftime during the game against Baylor University on Sunday, November 27, 2011, at Thompson-Boling Arena. 
 Tyler is Summitt's only child and has been a rock of support since the diagnosis last summer. 
  
 (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2011

Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt, right, and her son Tyler Summitt hug in greeting just before making a presentation at halftime during the game against Baylor University on Sunday, November 27, 2011, at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tyler is Summitt's only child and has been a rock of support since the diagnosis last summer. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Tyler Summitt is shopping for his entry portal to the coaching profession. It's time to leave the nest in his famous mother's professional family tree.

Summitt, a University of Tennessee senior and walk-on basketball player, is trying to find a graduate-assistant position with an established program.

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"I've talked to Florida, Kentucky, the Baylor women,'' he said. "I'm looking all over. I definitely want to get on a coaching path.''

To enhance his resume, that means going somewhere outside Tennessee and Pat Summitt's extended family of coaches. And, of course, it means leaving his mother's side as she continues her battle with early-onset dementia.

"Initially,'' Tyler said, "I was second-guessing myself, but I need to get outside her experience and prove myself.

"She's all for it. She said if this (coaching) is what I want to do, I need to go away and not worry about her.''

Tyler, Summitt's only child, has been a rock of support since the diagnosis last summer.

"If things were not going well,'' he said, "I don't know if I would leave. But she's doing great.

"I think she's got a great support group and, no matter what happens, honestly, she's been doing incredible.

"I couldn't ask for God to move in a better way than he has.''

Basketball has been part of Tyler's life from his first memories. Riding on the team bus or hanging out at practice with Chamique Holdsclaw and the rest, they were all like big sisters.

His mother never forced the game on him. He said she and his father, R.B. Summitt, both prepared him for leadership by treating him as an adult early on.

That approach paid off in the past year as he accepted an expanded role in helping manage his mother's affairs.

"I went to banquets when I was five years old in a suit and tie,'' he said.

"I think it's prepared me for some of the bigger decisions, going to the doctor's offices, going to the financial advisers, getting everything straight, meeting with the athletic directors here.

"They (his parents) prepared me for that and also, God has blessed me and given me the skills to do it.''

While acknowledging that his responsibilities have grown beyond those of an average college senior, Tyler said he has never felt overwhelmed by his mother's illness.

"I'm really not doing that much right now,'' he said.

"She's still the boss. She tells me what to do.''

Follow Mike Strange at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 7

Noogaorange writes:

What's left to say? Everything positive and supportive as well as praise as been noted on so many posts. I would just add that one of my favorite singers of all time Tina Turner has a song that probably says how I feel and many others about Pat and what's she's meant to so many people it's title "Simply the Best" no doubt about it Pat is simply the best better than all the rest! GBO VFL

HoustonVol writes:

This right here, more than anything else, tells me that Pat will be back for at least one more year. Her son would not go away if she was in quick decline.

SquarePeg writes:

NOW THAT EVERYTHING HAS BEEN SAID THAT CAN BE SAID - NEEDS TO BE SAID - will grandmas be the focus of the next article?

New Sentinel expects nothing more than positive statements, in fact delete others not so positive; so, here goes in chance the not-so-positive will be considered in order!

Enough is enough!!

Millisa writes:

Hey Tyler be on Your Mom's staff :) :) :)

martic#220796 writes:

can someone comment on status of the recruitment of jr. college players? The 6'5 center and 6'0 player? When is it supposed to be announced?

Rockytopfan96 writes:

Tyler is one lucky guy. He has the most inspirational woman in his life! Tyler would be an awsome guy if he continued the legacy on throgh Tennessee. His mother would be proud no matter where he goes!<3

Rockytopfan96 writes:

in response to mountainViews:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes, we have watched Tyler though the years. When I heard that coach Pat was leaving, I thought that God was telling her that it was the best thing to do. Pat will live on as a true legend!

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