“Discipline helps you finish a job, and finishing is what separates
excellent work from average work.” [Pat Summitt]
Pat Summitt was coach of the Tennessee Vols women’s basketball team from 1974-2012. When she died two weeks ago, her face appeared in the news, something that occurred often during her career, but not as frequently in the past few years as she battled Alzheimer’s.
When she began her career at the age of 22, women’s basketball was not formally recognized by the NCAA. Summitt had to organize bake sales to purchase uniforms, wash the uniforms herself, and then drive the van to games. When she retired, women’s basketball had a professional league, and her former players were prominent in it.
She was the first NCAA coach (not just the First Woman) to reach 1,000 wins. Her list of achievements is lengthy. Here are just a few highlights:
–Reached the Final Four when she was under 30
–Won the national title when she was under 35
–Won 8 national titles
–Had 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament
–First coach (male or female) to reach 800 wins. Only four coaches have achieved the same.
—In total, had 1,098 wins, more than any other Division I coach (male or female)
–Never had a losing season.
–Inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame as a coach the first year coaches were honored
–Presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama
–Received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2012, after she publicly announced she was battling Alzheimer’s
–Was the Only Woman on the list of the 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time, according to Sporting News in 2009
Her most impressive statistic, in my opinion, is that every player who finished out her eligibility under Pat Summitt graduated from college. Her players speak of the leadership she not only provided, but taught them. “We learned about what it takes to be a leader,” said WNBA star Tamika Catchings, “what it takes to be a great woman, what it takes to be a great lady. . .”