She’s been to the Summit

It took her a long time, but she had made it.

She had the patience and persistence to do it.

It was with the help of her students, for she couldn’t have done it without them.

It took TEAM WORK.

She had met a woman—hell, a human being—so intense, so authoritative, so certain and yet so caring. Pat walked into a room, and everything about her—her ramrod posture, her confident smile, her piercing blue eyes and her direct manner of speaking—said, “I love what I’m doing and this is what I’m here to talk about, and you’ll pay attention while I’m talking or you’ll leave the room.”

She has always been an intense, demanding, focused, bright-blue-steely-eyed competitor who is also a very caring, family-oriented person who enjoys a great walk on the beach with the family dogs, Sally Sue and Sadie, or assembling a good ole southern home-cooked meal for her team.


Coach Pat Summitt is known for her stare, which is cold enough to freeze time.

Pat Summitt

“People talk about 1,000 wins,” Summitt says. “I remind them that I’ve never scored a basket for the University of Tennessee.”

A better measure of Summitt’s success — in her eyes, anyway — is this: 45 Lady Volunteers, about a third of the players who have passed through her program, have become coaches — from youth leagues to the pros. In her coaching tree, the first ring was formed this season with the arrival of Glory Johnson, whose high school coach was Shelley Sexton-Collier, whose college coach was Summitt.

“This job is all about the relationships,” Summitt said, “so obviously that’s rewarding.”

Patricia “Pat” Head Summitt, Supervisor Guardian, (born on June 14, 1952, in Clarksville, Tennessee) is a former women’s college basketball head coach. She now serves as the head coach emeritus of the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team. She is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history of either a men’s or women’s team in any division. She coached from 1974 to 2012, all with the Lady Vols, winning eight NCAA national championships, second only to the record 10 titles won by UCLA men’s coach John Wooden. Summitt is the only coach in NCAA history, and one of three college coaches overall, with 1,000 victories. She was named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century in April 2000. In 2009, the Sporting News placed her number 11 on its list of the 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time in all sports; she was the only woman on the list. In 38 years as a coach, she never had a losing season. On April 20, 2012, the White House announced that Pat Summitt would be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. Summitt received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2012 ESPY Awards. Summitt has written two books: Reach for the Summitt, which is part a motivational book and part biography, and Raise the Roof about the Lady Vols’ 1997–1998 undefeated and NCAA-championship winning season. [Wikipedia]

This was quite contrast from her playing years and her beginning year as head coach of University of Tennessee.

Just before the 1974–75 season, with women’s college basketball still in its infancy and not yet an NCAA-sanctioned sport, 22-year-old Summitt became a graduate assistant at the University of Tennessee, and was named head coach of the Lady Vols after the previous coach suddenly quit. Summitt earned $250 monthly and washed the players’ uniforms – uniforms purchased the previous year with proceeds from a donut sale. Summitt recalled that era of women’s basketball during a February 2009 interview with Time Magazine. “I had to drive the van when I first started coaching,” Summitt said. “One time, for a road game, we actually slept in the other team’s gym the night before. We had mats, we had our little sleeping bags. When I was a player at the University of Tennessee-Martin, we played at Tennessee Tech for three straight games, and we didn’t wash our uniforms. [Wikipedia]

You see, Supervisor are very willing to put in the hard work to make to the top.  To do the little things and big things to make it to the summit.

Supervisors are generous with their time and energy, and very often belong to a variety of service clubs, lodges, and associations, supporting them through steady attendance, but also taking an outspoken leadership role. Supervisors like to take charge of groups and are comfortable issuing orders. They are cooperative with their own superiors, and they would like cooperation from the people working under them. [single men over 40]

Definitely “old school” in her approach, Pat Summitt takes a no nonsense attitude for coaching.  Responsibility, Discipline, Loyalty, Hard Work, Communication, and Solid Team Play.  No short cuts to success. dating a man with feminine energy

Pat Summitt listening to her players

Yes she had reached the summit in basketball history.

In August 2011, Summitt announced that she had been diagnosed three months earlier with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Despite the diagnosis, she did complete the 2011-2012 season, but with a reduced role, while longtime assistant Holly Warlick, an assistant under Summitt since 1985, assumed most of the responsibilities. Summitt stated, “There’s not going to be any pity party and I’ll make sure of that.”

After the season, which ended with the Lady Vols losing to the eventual unbeaten national champion Baylor Lady Bears in the Elite Eight in Des Moines, on April 18, 2012, Pat Summitt officially stepped down as head coach, ending her 38-year coaching career. Warlick was named Summitt’s successor. In a statement accompanying her resignation, Summitt said, “I feel like Holly’s been doing the bulk of it, She deserves to be the head coach…” Summitt was given the title Head Coach Emeritus upon her resignation. [Wikipedia, revised]

Most people get excited about games, but I’ve got to be excited about practice, because that’s my classroom.  — Pat Summitt

I’ve got a great staff and great support system, and I’m going to stick my neck out and do what I always do.  — Pat Summitt

11 thoughts on “She’s been to the Summit”

  1. I just love these little bio’s, both for the analysis of the different temperaments, but also for the glimpse into people’s lives, many of whom I knew nothing about. One of the most compelling blogs I’ve seen. Thank you. M/B has touched my family’s life in profound ways. To finally understand one’s self and others is one of the gifts of life, really.

  2. Her ‘principles’ are like a copy from Please Understand Me 2; respect, responsibility, loyalty, discipline, communicating, hard work, the team…, work, work…a fantastic example of a Supervisor. ‘Making sure that others do as they should do….don’t do as they shouldn’t do”. It would be (yes, slightly crazy) great to make a study of the best of bestest coaches to see their temperaments, I wonder if the sports loving, competitive Artisans (yes, generally speaking), respond to a certain temperament best? OR is that the challenge of the coach, to figure how to ‘get the best’ from a team. OR maybe it’s just more complex…

  3. So sorry to hear about the dementia, wishing her the courage and stamina through the next chapter of her life. An incredible person. Thankyou for the story of her, her temperament, legacy and achievements.

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