University of Tennessee's Lady Vols head basketball coach Pat Summit has been diagnosed with early onset dementia.
Summit, who is credited as the all-time most winningest coach in NCAA basketball history for men or women, will try to coach the upcoming 2011-2012 season "as long as the good Lord is willing," she stated Tuesday.
Since her coaching career began in 1974, Summit has over 1,000 career victories, eight national NCAA championships and Olympic gold and silver medals. She was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
Coach Summit made the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
Dear All -
Throughout my career, I have always made it a point that my life and my basketball program were an open book.
With that in mind, I have something I'd like to share with my Tennessee families -- the university, boosters and fans of Lady Vol basketball.
Once last season concluded, I addressed some ongoing concerns regarding my health. After consulting with my local physicians, I decided to visit the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Earlier this summer, the doctors at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed me with early onset dementia ("Alzheimer's Type") at the age of 59.
I plan to continue to be your coach. Obviously, I realize I may have some limitations with this condition since there will be some good days and some bad days.
For that reason, I will be relying on my outstanding coaching staff like never before. We have always collaborated on every facet of Lady Vol basketball; and now you will see Holly Warlick, Dean Lockwood and Mickie DeMoss taking on more responsibility as their duties will change significantly.
I love being your coach and the privilege to go to work every day with our outstanding Lady Vol basketball student-athletes. I appreciate the complete support of UT Chancellor Dr. Jimmy Cheek and UT Athletics Director Joan Cronan to continue coaching at the University of Tennessee as long as the good Lord is willing.
I've been honest and shared my health concerns with you, and now we'll move forward to the business at hand... coaching a great group of Lady Vols. For the time being, I hope you will respect my privacy regarding this matter.
Go Lady Vols!