The family of Tennessee icon and Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Pat Summitt released a statement asking for prayers and privacy on Sunday.
A Sunday morning story in the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Summitt is “struggling” with her health, and friends and loved ones were “preparing for the worst.”
According to the newspaper’s anonymous source, “I don’t think anybody knows whether she will last a day, a month or a year.”
Summitt’s family released the statement later Sunday morning:
“On behalf of Pat Summitt’s family, we acknowledge the past few days have been difficult for Pat as her early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ progresses. She is surrounded by those who mean the most to her and during this time, we ask for prayers for Pat and her family and friends, as well as your utmost respect and privacy. Thank you.”
Summit, 64, announced in August of 2011 that she had early onset Alzheimer’s disease and retired after the 2011-12 season.
Summitt concluded her coaching career with a 1,098-208 (.840) record, her wins total ranking above all other Division I basketball coaches.
The Lady Vols won eight national championships under Summitt’s direction, her presence and success bringing global recognition to the school.
The Atlanta Tip-Off Club recognized Summitt as the Naismith Women’s Collegiate Coach of the Century in April of 2000.
The basketball court at Tennessee’s Thompson Boling Arena, where the men’s and women’s basketball teams play their home games, was named “The Summitt” in 2005 under the direction of then-men’s and women’s athletic directors Mike Hamilton and Joan Cronan.
Summitt finished her career with a 504-48 record at home, an astonishing win percentage of .913.
Tennessee has since merged the athletic departments, and under the current school administration, the women’s basketball team is the only female sports program allowed to wear the “Lady Vols” moniker Summitt made famous.
Summitt pioneered women’s athletics in Knoxville from the time she was hired by the school to coach the program in 1974, then only 22 years old.
In addition to her collegiate basketball success as a player (UT-Martin) and coach, Summitt also was co-captain on the U.S. Olympic women’s team in 1976 and led the 1984 Olympic team to a gold medal as head coach.
Known for discipline and coaching acumen on the basketball floor, and compassion and leadership off of it, Summitt’s program was named “The Co-Team of the Decade for the 1990s” by ESPN’s ESPY Awards, sharing the honor with former coach Bobby Bowden’s Florida State football program.
Summit was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in April of 2012.
In November of 2013, a statue of Summitt was completed and dedicated at one of the most prominent locations on campus. Pat Summitt Plaza sits across the street from the basketball arena and football building.
— Butch Jones (@UTCoachJones) June 26, 2016
— Josh Dobbs (@josh_dobbs1) June 26, 2016
— Tennessee Football (@Vols365Gameday) June 26, 2016
— Zach Azzanni COACH Z (@UTCoachZA) June 26, 2016