Pat Summitt says she was not forced out at Tennessee

Pat Summitt

Pat Summitt

Pat Summitt insisted in a statement released Friday afternoon that she was not forced out as the head women's basketball coach at the University of Tennessee.

"It was entirely my decision to step down from my position as head coach of women's basketball at the University of Tennessee," Summitt said in a statement intended to clarify "some misunderstandings" resulting from her sworn affidavit filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday.

The affidavit was filed as part of Debby Jennings' lawsuit against the University of Tennessee and athletic director Dave Hart. Jennings, the former Lady Vols associate athletics director for media relations, abruptly departed in May. She filed suit on Sept. 27, alleging "unlawful discrimination and retaliation."

In the affidavit, Summitt said that Hart indicated to her during a meeting on March 14 that she would not be the head coach next season. She told several people about this meeting, including Jennings, the affidavit stated. But Summitt did not tell them that Hart later told her that she had misinterpreted what he said, according to the affidavit.

"I did not then, and I do not now, feel that I was 'forced out' by the university,'' Summitt said in Friday's statement. "Anyone who knows me knows that any such effort would have met with resistance. If my affidavit has caused confusion on that point, it needs to be dispelled."

Summitt, who announced in August of 2011 that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type, stepped down on April 18 after 38 years as head coach to become a head coach emeritus. In Friday's statement, Summitt said that she reached her decision "after consultation with my son, my doctors, my lawyer and several close friends."

In her new role, Summitt has a one-year deal with a salary of $354,375. Summitt said the university has treated her with "the utmost respect and graciousness" regarding the transition.

The university issued its own statement that said, "We stand by Pat and her statements, both today and at her press conference in April that it was her decision to step aside as head coach and become head coach emeritus."

UT's statement also said, "We are eager to respond to the other allegations in the lawsuit and will do so through the judicial process."

Jennings' lawyer, David A. Burkhalter, said in a statement that the suit doesn't allege that Summitt was forced out. Instead it alleges that Jennings acted on what she had been told by Summitt and suffered for it.

"Debby then contacted Dave Hart in good faith on March 15, 2012, and she advised him what Pat had told her to make him aware because he should know this, and if it was true, she told him she opposed it as discriminatory and wrong and she asked him to please reconsider it," Burkhalter said. "The suit alleges in response Mr. Hart got very angry at Debby, she was retaliated against, and this was a factor in the decision to fire Debby a few months later."

Related documents

Statement by Pat Summitt

Statement from Debby Jennings' lawyer in response to Pat Summitt's statement

Original affidavit by Pat Summitt

Response from UT on Summitt's statement

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Comments » 89

beef4davols writes:

But this doesn't help the agenda at all!!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Climer and other yellow journalist will not hear the truth. The truth is not interesting when you can have much more eye catching headlines if you twist the story and throw in a lie or two.

RJP11 writes:

IN YO FACE, DEBBY JENNINGS!!!!!

volsindallas writes:

in response to beef4davols:

But this doesn't help the agenda at all!!

Oh, insight one...whose agenda and what agenda are you making up?

manoffewwords writes:

I believe Pat.

thevoice writes:

Who you gonna believe: Pat Summit or Debbie Jennings or Dave Hart? Will the real Truth please stand up?

RJP11 writes:

Let's discuss sanctions for Jennings & her attorney now that their little affidavit doesn't appear to be worth the paper it's written on ....

Did they coerce a mentally infirm icon for their own benefit or did they just forge her signature?
.....

CrankE writes:

I back Pat!

So, how's the narrative, Debby Jennings (uh..I mean, John Adams)?

Hey KnoxNewsPravda, show the picture again because it's fittn to get ugly all up in here!

south_alabama_vol writes:

in response to RJP11:

IN YO FACE, DEBBY JENNINGS!!!!!

Yeah,what he said!

volguy writes:

(Laughing uncontrollably) -Dave Hart

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

Anyone who knows anything about Pat knows she has an enormous amount of intregrity and honesty. The fact that she made this statement should be the end of this story but I suspect there will be people with an agenda that won't let it go.

Col26ca writes:

in response to KremsersWaywardWallop:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow, can I take it from your post you don't like Hart?

Millisa writes:

I Back Pat :) :) :) Fire Hart Hire Coach Summitt for AD and Fire Dooley

volboy81 writes:

so where did the afidavit come from that she signed that said she WAS forced out and did Hart lie about the logo change? Its amazing what all is conjured up by "journalist" when they get bits and pieces of a story and cant substantiate anything....this is so confusing....too many different stories supposedly from the same person.

Tru138 writes:

in response to KremsersWaywardWallop:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So blinded are you by your hatred for Hart that you completely ignore the fact that Pat said it didn't happen. "...new cover story brought on by who knows what kind of pressure..." So you claim Pat changed her story. What was the leverage..."Change your story or we'll make you retire"? You are one bitter person.

underthehill writes:

I do not think Pat was forced out but I do think there was some confusion that brings into question the credibility of Hart. Going to be interesting and ain't gonna go away until a settlement is reached or they get a court ruling..

GerryOP writes:

in response to KremsersWaywardWallop:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Haters hate. Naysayers nay. Losers lose.

beef4davols writes:

in response to volsindallas:

Oh, insight one...whose agenda and what agenda are you making up?

Really!!??!! Just read the headlines on goVOLSxtra.com.

Linking negative articles from other publications, going nuts with the amended suit on this site yesterday (as well as on the News Sentinal's radio show).

Constant Kiffin articles...and on and on!!

thevoice writes:

Fulmer for AD.

SewaneeVolFan writes:

Don't know what to think, but when in doubt, it's always best to follow the Lady Vols Golden Rule: take Pat at her word and go from there.

vettefool writes:

I love lady vols but there is a lot of other hanger-oners in the womens basketball program that should be on notice that they had better do their job.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

"Golly gee Wally."

tennrich1 writes:

Now I REALLY confused....Not really...

tennrich1 writes:

in response to underthehill:

I do not think Pat was forced out but I do think there was some confusion that brings into question the credibility of Hart. Going to be interesting and ain't gonna go away until a settlement is reached or they get a court ruling..

Nah I disagree....I think Dave Hart is fine...strong leadership always attracts criticism....

gameover writes:

in response to KremsersWaywardWallop:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Debbie? Jenny?

GerryOP writes:

in response to underthehill:

I do not think Pat was forced out but I do think there was some confusion that brings into question the credibility of Hart. Going to be interesting and ain't gonna go away until a settlement is reached or they get a court ruling..

Yup, you need to find some way to blame Hart for the confusion created by Jennings, the KNS, and the rest of the press. Makes sense to me.

smokeybitesback writes:

I LOVE UT and PAT SUMMITT..She is however still employeed at UT..Just fire Dave Hart and that will fix the problem..i do belive that if Pat had it her way that she wouldnt have retired til at least her 40th year coaching, and im pretty sure even Pat herself had made that clear even after being diagnosed

pcorange writes:

So, what really happened? Why would she sign an affidavit saying what she did if she didn't then and doesn't now feel like she was being forced out? Did Debby Jennings' attorneys pull a fast one on Pat? Regardless, this whole situation stinks to the heavens and is tarnishing the image of a living legend, apparently through no fault of her own. Either Hart is a scumbag or Jennings is a scumbag. I'm leaning toward the latter.

VolInIndy writes:

I thought the contention was Pat told Debbie that she felt Hart was pushing her out and then later it came out that Hart told Pat she misunderstood what he said. The affadavit said Pat did tell Debbie what she (Debbie) was contending Pat told her. I could be wrong and that would be the first time that ever happened on to anyone on here.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say well Debbie whose fault is it now and what kinda friend drags Pat into something like this? Witch Doctor say Hart is the man we need to turn this around and exercise the Cancer that doomed(is trying to doom) this Dept.
Bones never lie.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say well Debbie whose fault is it now and what kinda friend drags Pat into something like this? Witch Doctor say Hart is the man we need to turn this around and exercise the Cancer that doomed(is trying to doom) this Dept.
Bones never lie.

*Exorcise..buts the other is kinda true by the pics I've seen. lol
BNL

61NCVol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say well Debbie whose fault is it now and what kinda friend drags Pat into something like this? Witch Doctor say Hart is the man we need to turn this around and exercise the Cancer that doomed(is trying to doom) this Dept.
Bones never lie.

What he said.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor believe from all the other records and articles...causing problems and conflict was the reasons Debbie Jennings was fired for in the first place? lol.
Bones never lie.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor believe from all the other records and articles...causing problems and conflict was the reasons Debbie Jennings was fired for in the first place? lol.
Bones never lie.

She better win because her resume' is not getting any thicker..Just sayin'

BigBadVol writes:

So many idiots on here. I believe Pat first. I believe Hart has TN's best interest at heart. (no pun intended). DJ is reacting due to her emotions. Much ado about nothing.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

She better win because her resume' is not getting any thicker..Just sayin'

Witch Doctor bet her Lawyer spit his Quizno's all over his Office(side room to moms beauty salon) when this came out. lol
Bones never lie.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor bet her Lawyer spit his Quizno's all over his Office(side room to moms beauty salon) when this came out. lol
Bones never lie.

Too funny..

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

DJ: Uhhh, did I mention Dave Hart made a pass at me?

BigOrangeSports writes:

If Pat says it didn't happen, then it didn't happen, and I think she will make Jennings' Lawyer retract the statement.

SATCHMOE writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor believe from all the other records and articles...causing problems and conflict was the reasons Debbie Jennings was fired for in the first place? lol.
Bones never lie.

This is the truth and this extra stuff is useless. The woman lost her job, the fat needed to be cut and its time to move on.She ran her mouth and wrote a check that her butt couldn't cash. She played her ace card in Pat Summit and Pat has denied her claim. Hart is not a bad person but has enough ba--s to get this program back in order.

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

The Braves are getting screwed.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to GiveHim6TDTennessee:

The Braves are getting screwed.

Don't care, Cards fan..

lemme_axya_this writes:

in response to GiveHim6TDTennessee:

The Braves are getting screwed.

Does that mean they're not getting that Maddux/Glavine "corner"? Lol

PureOrange writes:

Thanks, Pat. So glad to have this cleared up. Had been devastated that Pat's good name and legacy was being dragged into the mud pit by a woman who pretends to be her friend. I could not believe Debby could have even thought of putting Pat in such a position.

Pat Summitt is one of the very best things to ever happen to Tennessee. Great lady who deserves to be respected and admired. Debbie should be ashamed. No friend would ever thing of doing what she has done.

My advice to Debbie Jennings is to fade into the distance and get out of Pat's life and away from the University of Tennessee. She has done more than enough damage.

Pullingguard writes:

All those who wanted Hart fired, hung, roasted or worse you can now go back to your caves until the next bone is tossed giving the anti anything And everything crowd something to Bark about..

DonK37920 writes:

Pat is and always will be a class ACT! Not one of her interviews post stepping down even hinted at it not being her decision. This Jennings woman's money grab with a sleezeball ambulance chasing lawyer is really tarnishing what otherwise was a textbook way for a classy lady to leave a program under very difficult circumstances.

Clarkrm0706 writes:

LOL, so many harsh comments for/against each side and (If I read this correctly) No story really? Debby misunderstood Pats comments -was upset because she thought Pat was being disrespected - Screamed at Hart because she was defending Pat - got fired for thinking she was defending Pat but yelling at her boss - You can't yell at your boss without being fired - Then Debby filed a frivolous lawsuit under the impression she had done the right thing?
Now it is "Pats great integrity", "The evil Hart" and There must be more to this!!!"
You guys must love the daytime soaps huh?

tovolny writes:

This thing has gotten out of hand...I wish it was out of mind. Here is what I would like to see:

1) Hart should make a public statement presenting what he said, and why and how he reacted.

2) Debbie Jennigs (not her lawyer) should make a public statement presenting what she said, and why and how she reacted.

3) Pat Summitt, the son, and the consulted friends should make a public statement presenting what they said, and why and how they reacted.

Or, UT could just ask John Adams and let him be the judge, jury, and inforcer. Because, when all of this is over, ole John will have his concluding story out that will paint the picture however John wants it. This is just the way things roll in Knoxville...best town in Tennessee between Morristown and Kinston.

underthehill writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Yup, you need to find some way to blame Hart for the confusion created by Jennings, the KNS, and the rest of the press. Makes sense to me.

..and now for the rest of the story..blame will be determined by the courts or a settlement..we'll see at some point..don't think any poster on here knows that outcome..including you and me....

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

If there has been another coach with as much clout/power at UT as Pat Summitt since the General himself, I don't know who that would be. If Hart tried to force her out against her will, she could have had him shipped out of town in a hartbeat (pun intended).

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