That initial reaction and those welling emotions were hard to articulate Wednesday for Pat Summitt's former players, just minutes after they learned the legendary Lady Vols basketball coach resigned.
So some tweeted about Summitt. Others shared stories to the News Sentinel in phone interviews.
They tried to find a way to express gratitude for what Summitt meant to the program and to them as a coach and friend.
Summitt led the Lady Vols to eight national championships in her 38 seasons as coach, making 18 Final Four appearances and winning 1,098 games along the way.
Summitt, whose battle against Alzheimer's was made public in August, was a named coach emeritus at Tennessee. Longtime assistant Holly Warlick was named coach.
"My gut reaction was I'm really happy for Pat that she can fully focus on her health. My heart also is sad that she's not going to be doing what she's been doing the last 38 years of her life," said former Lady Vols guard Michelle Marciniak, the MVP of the national championship game in 1996.
"But I'm 100 percent in support of Pat and the decision she had to make in the best interest of her health."
A tweet allows for just 140 characters. Lady Vols guard Kara Lawson, who played 1999-03, didn't come close to that limit when she tweeted "Thank You Pat Summitt!"
Catchings, a four-time All-American at UT 1997-2001 tweeted "@patsummitt GREATEST coach ever!!! Stepped down today but never too far. Luv ya Pat! Congrats to Holly Warlick."
Candace Parker, who led UT to national titles in 2007 and 2008, tweeted: "4 yrs removed from UT I still hear 'PARKER REBOUND!' in my head during games ... Thanks Coach Pat, I love you! #OnceALadyVolAlwaysALadyVol"
Webb School of Knoxville girls' basketball coach Shelley Sexton-Collier played on Summitt's first national championship team in 1987. She now has four daughters, all of whom, she said, have been influenced by Summitt.
"They all, when they were born, one of the first visits I made on my way home was I always stopped by Tennessee — and Pat has held each one of my children," she said. "I remember when I had Katie, the first time she held Katie (the eldest), Katie balled and cried. I said, 'Don't worry, Katie. I know exactly how you feel. I was scared of her, too.'
"My children have all grown up knowing who Pat Summitt is. My kids wanted to play for her. That same thing that everyone feels when you're a Tennessee girl and someday you're going to grow up and play for Pat Summitt.
"Again, I don't know how to put into words how I feel about her."
Summitt has been an omnipresent figure in Marciniak's life: from her days in the WNBA, to her time as an assistant at South Carolina (2003-08) and now in the business world.
"I have the utmost respect for her, for the influence she has on her players' lives," said Marciniak. "For me, I've learned so much. Pat is with me every day of my life.
"That's a strong statement. I'm that close to her. I care about her. We don't talk every day, but she's with me. She's in my thoughts all the time. She's had a powerful influence on my life as a woman.
"She's going to give everything she has to fighting this disease. I'm personally going to do everything I can to help her and going out and being a voice with her and for her to raise awareness for Alzheimer's."
Sexton-Collier found reassurance that Summitt still will be involved in the program.
"Everybody wants what's best for her, and everybody wants her to be the one to make that decision. And it was her decision," she said. "You have to fully support that and know that she's going to be involved in that program and have an impact still. I know that's probably the way everybody wants it."
The way she said "goodbye" was vintage Summitt, Marciniak said.
No elaborate farewell tour. Only a modest resignation.
"Pat is the most humble person you're ever going to meet," said Marciniak. "That's what makes her so unique and so special.
"This was about the team. This was about the program, as far as sitting on the sidelines and staying involved last year.
"She could have totally done the farewell tour, even next year. That's not her, though. She is not a spotlight (hound). She's great in it, but she doesn't revolve her world around it. I'm not surprised at the timing of this announcement, at all.
"It's true to who Pat Summitt is."