May 14, 2013, 11:45 PM EDT
The University of Tennessee plans to unveil a statue of legendary women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, as part of renovations to Lake Loudon Boulevard near the Volunteers’ athletic facilities, according to Tennessee Vice Chancellor and Athletic Director Dave Hart.
“It’s a very important component of the larger Lake Loudon project,” Hart told Evan Woodbery of the News Sentinel on Monday. “There’s a natural embankment by Thompson-Boling Arena, and we’re working with architects to find the best place for the statue.
“We’re hopeful that by fall the entire project will be completed. I can’t say for certain that the statue will be there by then, but it will be obvious where the plaza and the statue will go,” Hart added.
In 31 seasons as the Volunteers head coach Summitt won eight national championships and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. Before the start of the 2011-2012 season, Summitt was diagnosed with early onset dementia and retired in April 2012. Since then she has accepted a role as head coach emeritus. Woodbery went onto report that Tennessee has extended Summitt’s contract as head coach emeritus.
“It’s so important that the young players understand the tradition, and Pat is the tradition of the program,” Tennesee head coach Holly Warlick said. ”I love having her around and I’m just very thankful she wants to be around for another year.”
“She’ll be at all the practices, she’ll do exactly what she’s been doing this year. I’m glad she’s in for one more year.”
Monday the Pat Sumitt Golf Tournament was held at the Cherokee Country Club to help raise money for the Helen Ross McNabb Center, which provides mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and other social services to those with the least resources.
When ever Summitt’s statue in Knoxville is unveiled, it will be her second in the Volunteer State after one was put into place at her alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Martin.
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