Testimonials from coaches, athletes, celebrities on Pat Summitt

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The word bittersweet I am sure is across all of athletics because she transcends. She is not just women's basketball. She is an icon for any sport. I think celebrating the success she had is there. I called her yesterday and told her how happy I was that she was still with us and that she didn't step down completely. She is just an amazing person and her impact will last forever. Not just on the people that she coached but all the people in athletics as a whole."

- Derek Dooley, Tennessee football coach

Love and s/o to the AMAZING Pat Summitt! What she did for the game will live forever. Changed lives daily. She'll be missed. #gamechanger.

- Miami Heat star LeBron James wrote on Twitter.

Coach Summitt has been supportive of me from the time I was hired, and obviously that means a lot to have that support from one of the greatest coaches in any sport. The great thing is that she'll still be around. It's big for our recruits and the recruits' parents to have the opportunity to meet Coach Summitt on their visits — they all want to see her. I've always recognized Coach Summitt as a huge figure in Tennessee athletics, and as a representative of the state of Tennessee, for that matter. Not just because of what she's done on the court, but off the court as well. It's an honor to coach on a floor with her name on it."

- Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee men's basketball coach

Pat Summitt has been the consummate head coach of our era and a role model and mentor for thousands of student-athletes over the past 38 years at Tennessee. Her coaching record and contributions to the game of women's basketball will stand as a lasting testament to her greatness over time and will continue to be legendary for future generations."

- NCAA president Mark Emmert

The end of an era. It's a huge time to celebrate and show appreciation for what Pat has done for women's basketball and for all of us who are involved in the sport and love it so much ... At the same time, it's a sad situation with her leaving under the circumstances as they are with her health."

- Former Texas women's basketball coach and Hall of Famer Jody Conradt

Words cannot adequately describe the extraordinary career that Pat Summitt has had in the world of basketball. She is a model of class and courage, and I don't think that enough can be said for just how much Pat has accomplished in building and elevating women's basketball to its current heights. Pat is Tennessee basketball.

- Stanford women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer

Pat is really smart and has a lot of wise and trustworthy people around her who were involved with her decision. That makes me confident that she made the best decision for herself, her son Tyler and for Tennessee women's basketball. Pat's making a decision that she's comfortable with and that makes me know that it's the best decision.

- Amanda Butler, Florida women's basketball coach

While I'm certainly sad to hear that Pat is stepping down as the head coach at the University of Tennessee, I think today is really a time to celebrate Pat's amazing accomplishments and everything she has done to help bring the sport of women's basketball to where it is today. The word 'legend' can sometimes be overused in sports, but in Pat's case, that's exactly what she is. Pat has set the bar so high for all of us, not only with the success her teams have enjoyed on the court, but the way she has carried herself off the court, with such class, dignity and grace."

- Notre Dame women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw

Legend: A tribute to Pat Summitt

Pat's vision for the game of women's basketball and her relentless drive pushed the game to a new level and made it possible for the rest of us to accomplish what we did. In her new role, I'm sure she will continue to make significant impacts on the University of Tennessee and on the game of women's basketball as a whole.

I am thrilled for Holly as this opportunity is well deserved and Pat will be a huge asset to her moving forward.

- Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma

Her legacy will always stand, so far as elevating the women's game and bringing people to our game. I do think it's also a relief for her and everybody involved at UT. She's not leaving and she'll still be a part of Tennessee and a part of the program."

- Reigning WNBA MVP and former UT player Tamika Catchings

She's my mentor, my friend and a part of my family and that will last forever. She has been a pioneer in opening doors for women in so many areas. Those who have played or coached for Coach Summitt always take a part of her with us wherever we go in our respective jobs. I've taken her with me in teaching young ladies to be the very best they can be. Her influence on this game, the University of Tennessee and the Southeastern Conference will always be impactful. That will continue in any role she plays."

- LSU women's basketball coach and former UT player and assistant Nikki Caldwell

It just hits me in my heart, it really does. I feel so connected to Pat, as we've been together so long on the same journey as coaches and friends. This is a really sad day for me. I love Pat so much, but this isn't the way her amazing career should end."

- Rutgers women's basketball coach Vivian Stringer

Without Pat, I really don't know where women's basketball would be today. The impact she has had on the game itself is immeasurable and her influence on so many people connected with the game has been even greater. Professionally, she has been my example of how not only to win, but to win with class and dignity. I feel blessed to have gotten to know her on a personal level and experience firsthand the loyalty and compassion she shows for the people in her life. It is a sad day for the game, but I am confident that we will still feel her impact in the game for a long time to come."

- Vanderbilt women's basketball coach Melanie Balcomb

Words can never express adequately how much gratitude I personally have for Coach Summitt. I am living a dream, coaching at Kentucky, because she gave me an opportunity to learn from her many years ago. Jenna and I will continue to support the Pat Summitt Foundation and Coach Summitt's effort to bring awareness to this disease that she is so courageously fighting."

- Kentucky women's basketball coach Matthew Mitchell

Pat is one of those rare individuals whose influence crosses all boundary lines. Literally thousands of coaches in a vast array of sports abide by her tenets, passing them on as gospel to their players. Her name is synonymous with the sport of women's basketball, and yet I believe it is her leadership style — her way of achieving, if you will, that will be her most dominant legacy.

On a personal level, I feel unbelievably blessed to have had the opportunity to compete against her. I, and an entire generation of women's basketball coaches, will always be indebted to her for the culture of excellence she helped to create in our sport. It is on the foundation of relevance that her success helped carve that we and others like us have built our programs."

- Sherri Coale, Oklahoma women's basketball coach

Her competitiveness and single-minded focus for what was at hand stuck out to me. She certainly understands the difference between winning and losing. I think she did so much winning that it never got old with her."

- Jim Foster, Ohio State women's basketball coach

I think it's a sad day for me personally and a sad day for women's basketball. Pat Summitt is the John Wooden of women's basketball whether she's coaching or in the stands watching. She is a legend in the game. A great coach, a great ambassador in the game, and a great mother ... I would like to thank Tyler for sharing his mom with us for all these many years."

- Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey

It is extremely difficult to adequately express what Pat Summitt has meant to the University of Tennessee, the sport of basketball, and the growth of women's athletics nationally. She is an icon who does not view herself in that light, and her legacy is well-defined and everlasting. Just like there will never be another John Wooden, there will never be another Pat Summitt. I look forward to continuing to work with her in her new role. She is an inspiration to everyone."

- Tennessee vice chancellor and director of athletics Dave Hart

When I was in school at Tennessee I would play in pick-up games over at the physical education building. It was in the spring and a lot of the football players like Condredge Holloway and those guys would always be there playing. I remember leaving after playing one morning and Pat was standing outside in shorts and wearing knee pads. She asked if we were going to be playing again that afternoon. It was all guys, but she didn't mind getting in there and mixing it up, and she always held her own."

- Rick Byrd, Belmont men's basketball coach, UT graduate

This is a day when all Tennesseans should recognize the wonderful gift that Pat has given the state. She has produced champions on and off the court, and she has brought great recognition to Tennessee. While we are sad to see Pat retire, we will always be grateful for everything she has done for the state and the University of Tennessee. I also want to congratulate Holly for her new role in leading Lady Vols basketball. As she steps into this historic role, she brings her own commitment and tradition of winning, and we look forward to watching her lead the Lady Vols next year."

- Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

Everyone who has coached women's basketball at any time during the past four decades owes an enormous debt of gratitude for what Pat has done for our game. There will be evidence of her efforts for many years to come. On a personal note my thoughts and prayers go out to Pat, to Holly, and to the entire Lady Vol Family. We are a nation of coaches who love and support all of you."

- Former Texas Tech women's basketball coach Marsha Sharp

Pat Summitt was to women's basketball what James Naismith and John Wooden were to men's basketball. She is a farm girl from Tennessee that knew how to work, wasn't afraid to get dirty, wasn't afraid to sweat, and valued family above everything else. Every one of her (players) love her very, very much, as do the coaches that worked with her."

- Don Meyer, former Lipscomb men's basketball coach

I am happy for Pat. Her health and well-being are most important to me. She now can focus on doing things for Pat. She has given 38 years to UT and to women's basketball. Now, she can do what's best for herself, every day. I'm happy for my friend, and happy that she can begin a new chapter in her life. She's had such a unique and powerful impact on the women's game — not only on the college level, but on EVERY level. Her legacy will always be revered."

- Indiana Fever assistant Mickie DeMoss, Summitt's assistant for 20 years

She is just genuine. Any time you ran into Pat or went to see her practice or saw her on the road recruiting she was Pat. I see so many fakes in this business, but the one thing Pat Summitt is not is a fake. She was the same to me when she was recruiting my kids (at Shelbvyille High School) as she was after I came to Middle Tennessee and we started playing against her. She's just a country girl from up around Cheatham County who had a lot of success, but was very humble about it."

- Rick Insell, Middle Tennessee State women's coach

She has made an immeasurable impact both on and off the basketball court during her Hall of Fame career. The strength and perseverance that have defined her as a coach, mentor and role model were never more visible than through the incredible courage she displayed this past season. Without question, Pat is one of the strongest people I know. It is no surprise that she has not backed down from a challenge."

- Denver quarterback and former UT star Peyton Manning

I have never known a person who was more genuine from the first time I met her in 1987 when she was recruiting Debbie Scott at Gallatin (High where Van Atta coached) until a few weeks ago when she was sitting in our gym while they were practicing for the SEC Tournament championship. You think about all the games she's won, millions of dollars she's made, all the people she's talked to and known and she walks into our gym and says, 'Hey Gary, how are you?' as if we had seen each other the day before? She absolutely has never changed."

- Gary Van Atta, Trevecca women's basketball coach

Basketball in general, not just women's basketball, owes so much to Pat Summitt.. She is obviously one of basketball's all-time greats. She has played a significant part on three different U.S. Olympic teams, as a player, assistant coach and head coach, and she has taught so many young players about life through basketball. Coach Summitt's legacy is seen every summer when USA Basketball fields teams for international basketball competitions. From the junior to the senior level, some of her current or former players are almost always listed on USA Basketball rosters. We will miss seeing her pacing the sidelines and wish her nothing but the best as she undertakes her new challenge as head coach emeritus."

- USA Basketball CEO/executive director Jim Tooley

I'll never forget my sophomore year,

- New England Patriots receiver and former UT player Donte' Stallworth wrote on Twitter

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Comments » 2

dhwright64 writes:

Thanks for the memories. There will forever only be one "Pat"...

ssmith82#219353 writes:

Class, that is all anyone has to ever say about Pat!

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