Wow, nobody saw this one coming…
The 5.8-magnitude earthquake that rattled the East Coast Thursday was nothing compared to the tremors that shook up Knoxville when University of Tennessee Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt – the winningest coach in men’s or women’s basketball at any level of the NCAA with 1,071 victories in 37 seasons – announced she has been diagnosed with early onset dementia.
This is devastating news and brings up heartbreaking thoughts of the great Dean Smith from North Carolina, who, at 80, is suffering from what his family terms as “progressive neurocognitive disorder that affects his memory.”
Summitt, who has coached the Lady Vols to eight national championships, is only 59.
Summitt said she plans to coach her team during the upcoming season and “for as long as the Good Lord is willing.” With medication and mental exercise, she intends to manage the progressive condition that could lead to Alzheimer’s, which her grandmother had.
Summitt has never lacked for honesty or courage. She said she consulted with local physicians after she experienced months of erratic behavior and memory loss and visited with the doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., in May.
Please take care of yourself coach! The University of Tennessee, The Lady Vols, and your family needs you!
Peep the coach’s video announcement below.