Photo from (Tom Burton/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)
Pat Summitt, the winningest coach in Division I college basketball history, has diedat the age of 64.
Her son, Tyler Summitt, issued a statement Tuesday morning saying his mother died peacefully at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville surrounded by those who loved her most.
"Since 2011, my mother has battled her toughest opponent, early onset dementia, `Alzheimer's Type,' and she did so with bravely fierce determination just as she did with every opponent she ever faced," Tyler Summitt said. "Even though it's incredibly difficult to come to terms that she is no longer with us, we can all find peace in knowing she no longer carries the heavy burden of this disease."
She played college basketball at the University of Tennessee at Martin where she received her bachelor's degree in physical education. She was the co-captain of the 1976 U.S. Olympic team, which won the silver medal.
She began her coaching career at Tennessee in the 1974-75 season, when her team finished 16-8. With a 75-54 victory against Purdue on March 22, 2005, she earned her 880th victory, moving her past North Carolina's Dean Smith as the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history.
The Lady Volunteers dominated the sport in the late 1980s and 1990s, winning six titles in 12 years. Tennessee -- the only school she coached -- won NCAA titles in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1996-98 and 2007-08.
Summitt had a career record of 1,098-208 in 38 seasons, plus 18 NCAA Final Four appearances.
She announced in 2011 at age 59 that she'd been diagnosed with early onset dementia.
She coached one more season before stepping down.
At her retirement, Summitt's eight national titles ranked behind the 10 won by former UCLA men's coach John Wooden. UConn coach Geno Auriemma passed Summitt after she retired.
When she stepped down, Summitt called her coaching career a "great ride." Summitt was a tough taskmaster with a frosty glower that could strike the fear of failure in her players.
She earned her 1,000th career win with a 73-43 victory against Georgia on Feb. 5, 2009. Summitt won 16 Southeastern Conference regular season titles, as well as 16 conference tournament titles.
She was an eight-time SEC coach of the year and seven-time NCAA coach of the year. She also coached the U.S. women's Olympic team to the 1984 gold medal.
Summitt's greatest adversary on the court was Auriemma. The two teams played 22 times from 1995-2007. Summitt ended the series after the 2007 season.
In 1999, Summitt was inducted as part of the inaugural class of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. She made the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame a year later. In 2013, she also was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
Earlier this year, Summitt moved out of her home into an upscale retirement resort when her regular home underwent renovations. Summitt is the only person to have two courts used by NCAA Division I basketball teams named in her honor: "Pat Head Summitt Court" at the University of Tennessee-Martin, and "The Summitt" at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
She also has two streets named after her: "Pat Summitt Street" on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville campus and "Pat Head Summitt Avenue" on the University of Tennessee-Martin campus. She is survived by son Tyler Summitt.
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