- For most of 60 minutes on Sunday, Pat Summitt stood at the end of the Tennessee bench, her familiar post during games these past 38 years, arms folded impatiently as always.
Pat Summitt‘s unmatched success at the University of Tennessee is well-known, but she also was the first person to play for and coach U. Amazingly, she played at the Olympics two years into her head coaching tenure at Tennessee and two years after tearing an ACL in her senior season as a player at Tennessee-Martin.
Summitt, then Pat Head, was the oldest member at age 24 of the first U. Olympic women’s basketball team at the 1976 Montreal Games.
A co-captain, she helped the team to a silver medal behind the Soviet Union.
Summitt would have been the assistant coach for the 1980 Moscow Olympic women’s team, but those Games were boycotted.
En español l I was taught my foundational life lessons growing up on a dairy farm in Henrietta, Tenn., under the tutelage of my parents, Richard and Hazel Head, and as you may know, cows never take a day off!
Growing up in the Head family, your actions always spoke louder than your words.
She then became the head coach for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic squad, guiding the U. to the first of what has been seven gold medals in the last eight Games.
She was lifted up by her players on the court at the Forum after the 85-55 final victory over South Korea.
But then suddenly, in the second half, Summitt became Summitt again for a few minutes.
She was in a referee’s face, demanding a flagrant foul call on a loose elbow.
I have learned that you cannot always control what happens in life, but you can control how you handle it. You must always embrace learning, bettering yourself and maintaining a positive attitude. My life experiences, combined with my faith, sustain me now in my fight against Alzheimer's disease. With the help of my son, Tyler, I continue to take on our newest opponent, early onset dementia. We have created the Pat Summitt Foundation as a vehicle to do just that — to compete on a national level.