President Obama to present Pat Summitt Presidential Medal of Freedom

In this file photo from Friday, Mar. 19, 2010, Tennessee head coach monitors practice at Thompson-Boling
Arena. Summitt stepped down as head coach of the Lady Vols Wednesday, April 18, 2012 after 38 years. (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Photo by Saul Young

In this file photo from Friday, Mar. 19, 2010, Tennessee head coach monitors practice at Thompson-Boling Arena. Summitt stepped down as head coach of the Lady Vols Wednesday, April 18, 2012 after 38 years. (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick makes her first postgame press conference appearance after  the Lady Vols'  season opener against Carson-Newman at Thompson-Boling Arena on Nov. 1, 2011.

Photo by Saul Young, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick makes her first postgame press conference appearance after the Lady Vols' season opener against Carson-Newman at Thompson-Boling Arena on Nov. 1, 2011.

Pat Summitt is diagnosed with early onset dementia

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama announced today that Pat Summitt will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

It is the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors, according to a White House news release.

Summitt stepped down Wednesday after 38 years as coach of the Lady Vols basketball team to become head coach emeritus.

“Coach Summitt is an inspiration — both as the all-time winningest NCAA coach, and as someone who is willing to speak so openly and courageously about her battle with Alzheimer’s,” Obama said in the news release.

“Pat’s gift has always been her ability to push those around her to new heights, and over the last 38 years, her unique approach has resulted in both unparalleled success on the court and unrivaled loyalty from those who know her and those whose lives she has touched.

“Pat’s coaching career may be over, but I’m confident that her work is far from finished. I look forward to awarding her this honor.”

Summitt revealed last August that she has early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.

She is a spokeswoman against Alzheimer’s through the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund.

Summitt was notified last week of the honor, which will be presented at a White House ceremony later this year.

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Comments » 112

AncientVolFan writes:

I've never been a Lady Vol or much of a basketball fan, but a classy award for a deserving recepitant.

slb#1351874 writes:

Is it possible to get someone other than this guy to do this?

BigBadVol writes:

Obama simply wants to attach himself to a great lady. She deserves the award but I wish someone else was presenting it to her. Go ahead liberals, let the hatred fly.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say great for Pat. Witch Doctor say someone said it best "no Pat, no womens college B-Ball" Witch Doctor say deserving.
Bones never lie.

Volunista writes:

in response to Xaxeman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's a shame that some people have no class. It's a bigger shame that so many seem to live here. These same classless fools would never have a word to say if they had to affix their real name to their trash.

Thanks, Mr. President, for recognizing a true hero among us.

ROCKYTOPBRAD writes:

Well go ahead and call Tennessee a blue state then. It's all about the votes.

TopTenn writes:

in response to slb#1351874:

Is it possible to get someone other than this guy to do this?

Wrong board for stupid comments.

UTbassdrummer writes:

Please just let this be nice and don't attach your political leanings to it.

Theo writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Obama simply wants to attach himself to a great lady. She deserves the award but I wish someone else was presenting it to her. Go ahead liberals, let the hatred fly.

Fine -I'll let it fly. How ffing stupid are you? No wait, don't answer that. Your post says it all. Why is it any different if President Obama or President Bush presented it.
Pat is so deserving of this and I for one think it is very appropriate that an individual - OUR President - who has broken down so many barriers will be presenting this amazing award to Pat Summit - a woman who kicked in a lot of doors herself.
Why don't you keep your bigotry to yourself and let Lady Vols fans enjoy this honor for Pat.

JLHVol writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Obama simply wants to attach himself to a great lady. She deserves the award but I wish someone else was presenting it to her. Go ahead liberals, let the hatred fly.

To SLB and BigBadVol: Enough! I voted for Obama, and very much disliked G.Bush, but would have been very pleased with G.Bush (and respected his action) if he would have done the exact same thing as Obama in honoring Pat Summit. Respect the office of the President, and stop being so juvenile.

Central_IL_Vol writes:

Obama finally got something right!

A very deserving honor for an American legend!

kyvol98 writes:

Please leave the politics out of this. It is not who is giving the award, regardless of which party it might be, it is about the person that is so VERY DESERVING of it.

NashvillePreds writes:

One term President

slb#1351874 writes:

in response to Xaxeman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey Axeman Just so you know let me say to you loud and clear:
I like many other men fought for the right to speak our mind and express our personal feelings as well as allowing people like you to speak yours.
How about you? What have you contributed in you life time to the cause of liberty and freedom of speech or you one of those people who have contributed nothing to the cause like some others we both know.I'm an American and damn proud of it.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

Congratulations Coach Summitt.

It's embarrassing that some Tennessee fans are so consumed with hatred that try to ruin this great honor for Coach Summitt and the University of Tennessee. Unfortunately, all the disgusting fans are not in Alabama and Florida. Obviously, we have our share too.

holleyab writes:

She absolutely deserves it. Great going Pat!

ps11824 writes:

I wish I could give her an award. Can you blame anyone for doing such? Anyone who has neg remarks having to do with this occasion is just oblivious to the real world - the situation.

I just lost a dear friend. The disease won the battle, but my friend won the war. I think the same can be said, well, has been said for a couple of days now, about what Pat has accomplished in 8 short months.

Do you know anybody in the world who would answer the question, "Pat, can you think of anything that you have done, any situation where you would like to have a mulligan, a do-over for," who would answer, "No, I really can't, because I've learned from all of them."

You cannot top that. That is the positive attitude that I so truly admire about Pat Summitt.

Maverickman writes:

Put it off till Nov, and get it from Romney.obummer will expect you to SHARE IT with Geno

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

Come on folks, have some respect!

heyitsme writes:

Do a search and see how many times obama has mentioned Pat Summit prior to today... Ummmm....

For a guy that calls basketball his #1 sport, you would have thought that he would have mentioned Pat long before now... Especially since he called her success - "...unparalleled"!

Call this a bad post, a the wrong forum, call it what you may. I know politics when I see it, and this is nothing but more bad obama politics.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to heyitsme:

Do a search and see how many times obama has mentioned Pat Summit prior to today... Ummmm....

For a guy that calls basketball his #1 sport, you would have thought that he would have mentioned Pat long before now... Especially since he called her success - "...unparalleled"!

Call this a bad post, a the wrong forum, call it what you may. I know politics when I see it, and this is nothing but more bad obama politics.

Bad post would be an understatement.

Volunista writes:

in response to Maverickman:

Put it off till Nov, and get it from Romney.obummer will expect you to SHARE IT with Geno

Another DA speaks and yet doesn't say %$#&.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

If folks are gonna use freedom of speech as an excuse to be so disrespectful on here, then I'll do the same. I call for a ban on any idiot with disrespectful remarks on here. I'm sure it won't happen, but I'm free to speek what I feel just like you morons. KNS, where you at?

LouisVol writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Obama simply wants to attach himself to a great lady. She deserves the award but I wish someone else was presenting it to her. Go ahead liberals, let the hatred fly.

How sad for your mother and Pat. The lesson on gratitude and class obviously didn't take. I'm sure they'll be happy for a refresher course for you.

ReVolver writes:

Outstanding honor for Pat!! I was thinking yesterday that there should be some sort recognition by the President for her, given that she is pretty much a national treasure. :)

huntined#565710 writes:

ESPN classic been showing tribute to Coach SUMMITT YESTERDAY- LAST NIGHT ALL NIGHT AND- ALL DAY TODAY..wow what great wins she had..

Caneoverthere writes:

Very Nice!

volistic writes:

Come on people. There are plenty of web sites (not to mention talk radio) where you can go and tell the world how stupid everybody is that doesn't agree with your political views, while not seeing that you're the stupid one. But don't come on this site to spew your political hatred. Many of us come here to get away from all that. The President is doing a great thing for Pat Summitt, and UT will benefit from this recognition. On this site, save your hatred for Florida.

BigBadVol writes:

in response to Theo:

Fine -I'll let it fly. How ffing stupid are you? No wait, don't answer that. Your post says it all. Why is it any different if President Obama or President Bush presented it.
Pat is so deserving of this and I for one think it is very appropriate that an individual - OUR President - who has broken down so many barriers will be presenting this amazing award to Pat Summit - a woman who kicked in a lot of doors herself.
Why don't you keep your bigotry to yourself and let Lady Vols fans enjoy this honor for Pat.

Broken down so many barriers? LOL! Are you kidding me? This idiot of a president is the biggest race baiting, class warfare president we have ever had. Calling me a bigot, why? YOU are the bigot. You see every thing as black against white obviously. It has nothing to do with his color. It has to do with a President with the lowest approval numbers in history wanting to associate himself with coach Summitt. You liberals are so ignorant. And I think coach Summitt should be called that and not Pat. But I guess you know her personally.

lguy (Inactive) writes:

in response to heyitsme:

Do a search and see how many times obama has mentioned Pat Summit prior to today... Ummmm....

For a guy that calls basketball his #1 sport, you would have thought that he would have mentioned Pat long before now... Especially since he called her success - "...unparalleled"!

Call this a bad post, a the wrong forum, call it what you may. I know politics when I see it, and this is nothing but more bad obama politics.

So I took you up on your juvenile challenge, and it turns out he has mentioned her before, at least twice, in complimenting her and the team. And he picked the lady Vols to get to the final four last year because of, he said, her will to make them win. So... your whole premise is shot down. Go away.

etu_vol_fan writes:

Regardless of what the POTUS party affiliation is, it's still pretty cool to get an award from the President. Let's leave politics over on the Knoxnews side and just honor our great coach!

volistic writes:

in response to lguy:

So I took you up on your juvenile challenge, and it turns out he has mentioned her before, at least twice, in complimenting her and the team. And he picked the lady Vols to get to the final four last year because of, he said, her will to make them win. So... your whole premise is shot down. Go away.

You're wasting your time giving facts to haters. They really don't care what the facts are. It's just a shame that they come on this site to spew their hatred instead of listening to the radio and saying "duuh... ditto Rush, ditto."

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to etu_vol_fan:

Regardless of what the POTUS party affiliation is, it's still pretty cool to get an award from the President. Let's leave politics over on the Knoxnews side and just honor our great coach!

Witch Doctor say great post! Witch Doctor agree, its about Pat not the POTUS.
Bones never lie.

BrickHouse writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

Congratulations Coach Summitt.

It's embarrassing that some Tennessee fans are so consumed with hatred that try to ruin this great honor for Coach Summitt and the University of Tennessee. Unfortunately, all the disgusting fans are not in Alabama and Florida. Obviously, we have our share too.

We have more than our share, in my opinion. It's not just embarassing; it's also very sad.

BrickHouse writes:

in response to lguy:

So I took you up on your juvenile challenge, and it turns out he has mentioned her before, at least twice, in complimenting her and the team. And he picked the lady Vols to get to the final four last year because of, he said, her will to make them win. So... your whole premise is shot down. Go away.

LOL! Thanks for that.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Broken down so many barriers? LOL! Are you kidding me? This idiot of a president is the biggest race baiting, class warfare president we have ever had. Calling me a bigot, why? YOU are the bigot. You see every thing as black against white obviously. It has nothing to do with his color. It has to do with a President with the lowest approval numbers in history wanting to associate himself with coach Summitt. You liberals are so ignorant. And I think coach Summitt should be called that and not Pat. But I guess you know her personally.

The FIRST thing Pat ALWAYS tells people is to not call her coach...call her Pat. And that's a fact! In this case, the President did the RIGHT THING!!! But your hatred for him along with a little pride won't allow you to see it that way.

Obama has done some good and bad things. It will take a while for many of them to take effect. The state of this country has a whole lot to do with bad decisions of past Presidents. I'd damn near bet one of them you voted for, then voted for again. But you don't wanna talk about that now do ya????

jbocap writes:

I'm glad Pat will get this prestigious award. As far as the presenter - politics aside, I think Pat Summitt far exceeds Barack Obama in terms of leadership, character, and class. Congrats Pat!

Theo writes:

in response to heyitsme:

Do a search and see how many times obama has mentioned Pat Summit prior to today... Ummmm....

For a guy that calls basketball his #1 sport, you would have thought that he would have mentioned Pat long before now... Especially since he called her success - "...unparalleled"!

Call this a bad post, a the wrong forum, call it what you may. I know politics when I see it, and this is nothing but more bad obama politics.

So I guess your preference is she not be awarded the honor?
Remind me did George Bush talk about Pat Summit alot? And don't include the NC visit that will just further cement how ridiculous you are.

cbpooh writes:

I looked at the list of past recipients and found that Coach Summitt is only the 2 female sports figure to receive the award. The other was Billy Jean King. The only other figures from basketball were John Wooden and Bill Russell. I'd say that's some dang fine company. Congratulations Coach Summitt. You have made Vol Nation proud.

RoadTrip writes:

Any President in office at this time would have awarded Pat the honor. It's a no-brainer. Good for Pat and the LV nation. It's a great and deserving honor.

What grates on most people's nerves is that this President uses his position to campaign 24/7 for years after the election - more so than any President in history. So every time he does something that all of them do, he appears to be playing it again. But campaigning is really all he knows how to do.

Theo writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Broken down so many barriers? LOL! Are you kidding me? This idiot of a president is the biggest race baiting, class warfare president we have ever had. Calling me a bigot, why? YOU are the bigot. You see every thing as black against white obviously. It has nothing to do with his color. It has to do with a President with the lowest approval numbers in history wanting to associate himself with coach Summitt. You liberals are so ignorant. And I think coach Summitt should be called that and not Pat. But I guess you know her personally.

I do not know Coach Summit personnaly but I feel comfortable in guessing she is thrilled, honored and humbled at receiving this recognition.
I feel just as comfortable calling you a bigot. People get upset or disagree over policy difference. Your reaction and those of others on the site suggest a much deeper hatred. So yes, I'm guessing you know your way around racial epithets, jokes etc.
Regarding breaking down barriers - yes I believe our first black president broke down barriers. Same as when we have our first woman president (you probably will hate that as well) or our first Jewish president. Same as when JFK became our first Catholic president.
How sorry are you that you just can't be happy that Pat is getting this great honor.

klb4vols writes:

Finally, he gets something right! Go Pat!

samvol writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Obama simply wants to attach himself to a great lady. She deserves the award but I wish someone else was presenting it to her. Go ahead liberals, let the hatred fly.

He is already attached to a great lady, his wife...the FIRST LADY. hater!!! lol.

GoodScout writes:

Shameful politicizing such a moment. I for one am pleased the President fast-tracked this given Pat's medical situation.

Oh, and I have a hard time supporting a political movement that would try and phooey all over this honor. Have you no shame at all?

volistic writes:

in response to andforhisnexttune:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Is that what the nurse told the doctor when you were born?

utvolfan writes:

in response to jbocap:

I'm glad Pat will get this prestigious award. As far as the presenter - politics aside, I think Pat Summitt far exceeds Barack Obama in terms of leadership, character, and class. Congrats Pat!

I voted for Obama and still support him--but I agree with your comparison. It's hard to think of ANYONE who exceeds Pat Summitt in leadership, character, and class.

cltvol writes:

this is such an elite award,,there are 22 sports figures including CPS that have won this,,check out the very short list from the world of Sports - (assuming Wiki is correct)

Hank Aaron (2002)
Muhammad Ali (2005)
Arthur Ashe (1993, posthumously)
Earl Blaik (1986)
Paul "Bear" Bryant (1983, posthumously)
Roberto Clemente (2003, posthumously)
Joe DiMaggio (1977)
Billie Jean King (2009)[12]
Robert J. H. Kiphuth (1963)
Stan Musial (2011)[4]
Jack Nicklaus (2005)
Buck O'Neil (2006)
Jesse Owens (1977)
Arnold Palmer (2004)
Richard Petty (1992)
Frank Robinson (2005)
Jackie Robinson (March 26, 1984, posthumously)[65]
Bill Russell (2011)[4]
Ted Williams (1991)
John Wooden (2003)
Pat Summitt (2012

PUL4VOLS writes:

Good for President Obama and she is definitely deserving of it.

duncanvol writes:

in response to TopTenn:

Wrong board for stupid comments.

Really? you dont come here often do ya

RockyTopVolFan writes:

Congratulations to you Coach Summitt!
Just a brief Thank You for your exceptional career at the Univ. of Tennessee. You and your teams have been enjoyable and exciting to witness. Godspeed in your journeys ahead.

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