Pat Summit is not just the winningest coach in college basketball history. She was also an powerful leader, respected mentor, and an incredibly strong, resilient woman.
In her 38 years at Tennessee, Summitt won eight national titles and 1,098 games –the most by any Division 1 basketball coach, male or female. Her teams made an unprecedented 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Beyond the wins and the statistics, Summitt had a profound impact on women's college athletics. When she became head coach of the Lady Vols in 1974, the NCAA did not even formally recognize women's basketball. However, as the wins and the championships piled up, Summitt's astonishing achievements commanded national attention and helped usher women's basketball into the spotlight.
Summitt's legacy extended far beyond the game; her concern for her players extended to the classroom as well. All of the athletes she coached who completed their eligibility went on to graduate from the university.
"We learned about what it takes to be a leader, what it takes to be a great woman, what it takes to be a great lady, what it takes to have character, what it takes to have poise," said former Lady Vol and WNBA star Tamika Catchings in 2013.
In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded Summitt the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.