Not many coaches get to go out of the game in the way they want to, but there's no question that Pat Summitt's exit from coaching is one of the least fair there is. When she revealed that she had early-onset dementia, Alzheimer's type in August of 2011, we all knew that her illustrious career wouldn't last for too much longer.
Summitt was able to go one more season, leading Tennessee to a 27-9 record and the Elite Eight of the NCAA women's basketball tournament. She then decided to step down and turn the program over to her protege, Holly Warlick. I think we all had hoped the transition wouldn't come so soon, but no one knew better than Summitt as to what the right time would be.
Summitt's record is nothing short of awe-inspiring. She came within two wins of 1,100 in here career, a mark that no one else is within 150 of at present. Her teams made all 31 NCAA women's tournaments there have ever been. Only once did any of her teams not make it past the first round. She has eight national championships, 16 SEC championships, seven national coach of the year awards, eight SEC coach of the year awards, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
It's rare that individuals make outsized impacts on sports anymore, but Summitt is one of the pillars on which women's basketball as we know it today is built. As a part of our retrospective series, we're appreciating her career one more time and wishing her the best as she fights on.