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Pat Summitt steps down as Tennessee women’s coach

Apr 18, 2012, 1:59 PM EDT


Legendary Tennessee women’s head basketball coach Pat Summitt is stepping down after 38 seasons with the Lady Volunteers.

Summitt will be named an honorary head coach emeritus and assistant coach Holly Warlick will take over primary coaching duties.

“I feel really good about my decision,” Summitt told the Knoxville News Sentinel. “I think this is going to be a win-win situation for everybody. Holly and I will work really well together.”

In 1999, Summitt was inducted as an inaugural member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and amassed an all-time record of 1098-208 at Tennessee.

In August of 2011, Summitt was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, but remained on the sidelines to coach the Lady Vols to a 24-8 record this past season and a berth in the Elite Eight.

As head coach emeritus, Summitt can still attend practices and call recruits, but Warlick will have the majority of the head coaching responsibilities.

“I feel like Holly’s been doing the bulk of it,’’ Summitt said. “She deserves to be the head coach. I’m going to support her. No doubt, I’ll be there for her.”

Summitt was a 16-time SEC champion at Tennessee, a seven-time national coach of the year, and eight-time national champion.

“I support Holly Warlick being named the next head coach, and I want to help ensure the stability of the program going forward,” said Summitt in a release. “I will continue to make them my passion. I love our players and my fellow coaches, and that’s not going to change.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

  1. kungfubillysims - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Her Dad’s name is Richard Head. I’m not kidding.

    • ray1950 - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:37 PM

      Isn’t it incredible that her father and you share the same name?

      • kungfubillysims - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:35 PM

        No. My name is actually John. Thumbs down if you’re a total pansy.

  2. jumbossportsblog - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Reblogged this on jumbossportsblog.

  3. willcoop - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    As a division 1 basketball official that’s worked mens and womens hoops, I still believe that Coach is one of the top coaches that I have ever seen. I still believe that she is the ONLY female coach that could coach in the mens game and get the same results. Get better Coach and you are not only a credi to the womens game but basketball period. Thanks

  4. ray1950 - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Best wishes to Pat. She is and will forever be, one of the true icons of basketball. I am sincerely going to miss “the stare” but her decision to step down is the best for her and her beloved Lady Vols.

  5. florida727 - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    I’ve never met Pat in person, but have two close friends of mine that used to be women’s officials. They always got called to work the game against UConn when it was in Knoxville. They’ll tell you there is no better coach, or nicer person, than her. The ultimate class act. I actually find myself wishing she had coached a men’s team. She’d have blown up all the stereotype thoughts concerned a woman coaching men’s players. Whatever accolades or awards she receives after her retirement, will not do justice to her impact on the game. All the best to you, Pat Summitt. Just simply THE BEST… ever.

  6. atw34 - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Pat Summit and the Lady Vols were single-handidly the reason I be became a fan of women’s basketball in the early 80’s. Her teams played the game the way it was intended. One of the greatest coaches of all time, in any sport, in any era!

  7. materialman80 - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Pat is one of the greats in woman’s basketball. You can only wish her the best.

  8. sabatimus - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    We knew this time would come. Dammit.

  9. kungfubillysims - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    I love how you all call her by her first name like you know her

    • sabatimus - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:46 PM

      Do you ever shut up? The woman has Alzheimer’s, and you’ve demonstrated zero empathy. That just might be why you’re getting thumbed down all over the place.

      • kingghidora - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:53 AM

        Don’t feed the trolls. That’s what he wants. BTW I’m about 3 years younger than she is and I’m already having similar issues. It’s not a fun thing but it’s a life thing. We just play the hand we’re dealt as best we can and hope that we make a difference for the good – well most of us do.

      • kungfubillysims - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:13 AM

        yeah. you would last 4 seconds over in pft.

  10. bertilfox - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    I wish her well. As an aside, I know someone who had this diagnosis and it later turned out to be Lyme’s Disease. The symptoms were similar, but as soon as she got into a specialized treatment program, the symptoms dissipated greatly. They’ve not yet disappeared, but the improved prognosis was quite a load off of the family, as you might imagine.

  11. godblessfootball - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    I don’t follow women’s basketball, but to the Petrinos of the world, you need to take a step back and understand that this is how coaching is done. This is how dynasty’s are built and maintained.

  12. klownboy - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    College basketball will not be the same without Pat Summitt

  13. packhawk04 - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    The selfish part of me wishes she could coach forever. A true legend in every sense of the word.

  14. kingghidora - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    This is the end of an era that won’t be matched again for a very long time. Thanks for the memories Pat and I’m not even a Tenn. fan. I’m a Kentucky fan. But this woman transcends the sport she has coached so well. I only wish she could have been around another 15 years or more just to see how much she could have accomplished. She has been around so long it just won’t be the same to see the Lady Vols play without her on the sidelines. She is truly one of a kind.

  15. ob1canobie - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:32 AM

    What almost no one has pointed out about Pat Summit is the difference she made in woman’s lives. She had a 100% graduation rate. Unlike most all of college sports she didnt have a use them and lose them mentality. She had those numbers winning, true, but she did it WHILE building quality lives for her players. She even required that everyone who played for her sit in the first three rows of their classes. I cant imagine a Coach K, Petrino, etc requiring any of that. Nor do their graduation rates come close to touching Coach Summit. She is EVERYTHING that is right in the embodiment of sports, period. You will be missed coach!

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