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Pat Summitt, the winningest coach in Division One history, has died
University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt sits with her current pup Sadie during a recent interview.

[Article Update]

Pat Summitt, the legendary basketball coach who brought women’s basketball to new heights, died at the age of 64. She had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at 58.

Not only did she have an amazingly successful career with the University of Tennessee’s Lady Vols, but she was an inspiration both on and off the court to her players, all of whom also graduated, school officials said. She coached for almost 40 years, and started her career as coach when she was only 22 years old. She also inspired a variable Who’s Who in women’s sports, see this sampling of head coaches with ties to her. 

Not only that, but her toughness, resilience—and love for her dogs—was demonstrated in 2008 when she dislocated her shoulder while forearming a raccoon off her deck to protect her Lab, Sally. 

Her son, Tyler Summitt, issued a statement Tuesday morning saying his mother died peacefully at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville surrounded by those who loved her most.

“Since 2011, my mother has battled her toughest opponent, early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ and she did so with bravely fierce determination just as she did with every opponent she ever faced,” Tyler Summitt said. “Even though it’s incredibly difficult to come to terms that she is no longer with us, we can all find peace in knowing she no longer carries the heavy burden of this disease.”

[This following post appeared in 2011]

Pat Summitt is one gutsy woman, not only is she the winningest NCAA basketball coach in history (male or female) but this week she announced she has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at 59. Her talents, on and off the court, are near and dear to our hearts and we were thrilled when we had the opportunity to interview her about how dogs have inspired her and her style of coaching. Not only that, but her toughness, resilience—and love for her dogs—was demonstrated three years ago when she dislocated her shoulder while forearming a raccoon off her deck to protect her Lab, Sally. We wish her, and her family, well—and hope that she will continue to inspire her players and all those who love the game of basketball.

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Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and Editor-in-Chief.

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Photo by Debby Jennings/UT.

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