Secretary of the Army Pete Geren takes a photo with head coach of the NCAA championship team, the Tennessee Lady Volunteers, Pat Summitt (pictured) and members of the team in his office at the Pentagon, June 24.
Pat Summitt has won more games than any basketball coach in NCAA history. (Photo Credit: Public Domain/U.S. Army/Wikipedia)

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that University of Tennessee women’s basketball coaching legend Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with early onset dementia. The 59-year-old coach, who has won more games than any coach — male or female — in NCAA basketball history, reportedly has no plans to retire from her position as the head coach of the Lady Volunteers. She enters her 38th season in 2011-12.

Summitt frightened by changes in memory, behavior

Months characterized by what has been described as “erratic behavior” concerned Pat Summitt and those close to her earlier this year. Lapses of memory and feelings of confusion led the steel-willed coaching legend to ask herself, “What’s wrong with me?” reports the News Sentinel.

After subjecting herself to a battery of tests at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., this May, Summitt discovered that early onset dementia resembling Alzheimer’s disease was to blame. Anger and denial led to acceptance. Always goal-oriented, Summitt is already moving forward with a plan involving medication and additional mental activities to stimulate the cognitive centers of her brain.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Alzheimer’s is a degenerative condition caused by the death of brain cells. It is a slow-moving disease that gradually erodes cognitive function. Summitt noted that dementia runs in her family.

‘There’s not going to be any pity party’

In a video statement released on the Lady Vols’ website, Pat Summitt spoke with confidence when she said she would confront her early onset dementia head-on.

“There’s not going to be any pity party, and I’ll make sure of that,” she said.

Some individuals close to Summitt have questioned whether the medication she has been taking for rheumatoid arthritis is connected to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. While the root cause is ultimately unknown, the fact that Summitt now knows her opponent makes things much easier, said Summitt’s son Tyler, a junior walk-on for the Tennessee men’s basketball team.

“She’s always better when she knows what she’s fighting against,’’ said Tyler. “She had recommendations, what to do and what routine to get into and she’s going to prepare just like a game for her health.”

Summitt has replaced feelings of anxiousness with a resolute sense for the battle ahead.

“I feel better just knowing what I’m dealing with,’’ she said. “And as far as I’m concerned it’s not going to keep me from living my life, not going to keep me from coaching.”

The Summitt of excellence

The winningest basketball coach in NCAA history with 1,037 wins and 196 losses, Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols have captured eight NCAA Championships, just two behind the record 10 by former UCLA men’s basketball head coach John Wooden. Summitt has earned 29 combined Southeastern Conference titles in 36 years as Tennessee’s head coach. Summitt holds the record for Final Four appearances with 18 and had success at junior nationals, the World Championships, Pan American Games and Olympic Games.

Pat Summitt makes dementia announcement


Knoxville News Sentinel:

Lady Vols Basketball:

Pat Summitt Wiki:

People Magazine:,,20522242,00.html

Post By bryanh (1,420 Posts)


Do you have a fantastic idea related to this article, but just don't have the money you need to start your own company or side-business? Get the loans you need from to help get your new company underway, from the small loan professionals at PersonalMoneyNetwork.

PG&E to pay $70 million for pipeline tragedy

PG&E to pay $70 million for pipeline tragedy

Pacific Gas and Electric Co., a northern California utility, has agreed to pay $70 million to the California town of San Bruno for a pipeline explosion that killed eight people in 2010. Company says it’s remorseful The San Francisco-based power company’s president, Chris Johns, released a statement Monday, saying PG&E is sorry and eager to […]

Judge stabbed and deputy shot in Washington courthouse

Grays Harbor County Courthouse

Following a standoff in a Washington state county courtroom Friday, a man reportedly escaped after shooting a sheriff’s deputy in the shoulder and stabbing a judge in the neck. The man is still at large. Treachery among the tree farms The incident occurred Friday afternoon in the western Washington town of Montesano, which bills itself […]

Microraptor was one flashy little dinosaur

Microraptor fossil

A team of Chinese and American scientists have found that Microraptor, a small four winged dinosaur that went extinct about 130 million years ago, was likely black and almost certainly had glossy, iridescent feathers. Until now, the coloring of extinct creatures was a matter of pure speculation. That may no longer be the case. The […]

Autocorrected message leads to school lockdown

Homage to the Sun

Adjacent schools in Georgia were locked down for two hours Wednesday after a text message reportedly warned of a “gunman” on campus. Later, it was learned that the message was the result of a smartphone autocorrect function, attempting to “fix” the misspelled slang word “gunna.” A series of mixups A series of mixups led to […]