Pat Summitt is the Head Coach of the Lady Volunteers basketball team at the University of Tennessee. More than that, she is basketball. She has devoted her entire career to the women who wear orange and white. The court that they play on is named for her. But are the days of Head Coach Summitt ending sooner than everyone would like?
Sunday afternoon the Lady Vols played Florida at home. In the past, this game wouldn't have drawn 18,563 fans, most of whom were wearing "We Back Pat" t-shirts. The shirts went on sale months ago when Pat Summitt announced that she had Alzheimer's. But Sunday's game was different, it felt different. There was a certain 'something' in the air that didn't quite mesh. Could Sunday's game have been the last game that her loyal Tennessee fans were able to witness? Are her coaching days ending as the season ends? The words haven't been spoken, maybe because no one wants to say them.
Basketball is taken very seriously in the south, especially at the University of Tennessee. You know it was always serious with Coach Summitt. She has a lifetime record of 1,092 wins to date. She has invested 38 years with the Lady Vols.
Although Pat and her days at the helm may be ending, her spirit and courage will live on in her players and in her fans. Oh to see her on the sidelines with that 'look' on her face...the look that says more than a hundred words. The look of determination, the look of a winner and the look of someone who would never quit unless it was absolutely necessary.
Coach Summitt is now and always will be basketball at the University of Tennessee. If the end of the season means the end of her coaching days, then it is with respect and admiration that her team and her fans let her go. When the diagnosis was made public months ago no one wanted to believe that it was true. But it is true and those close to her can see the difference in Pat then compared to now.
Pat Summitt, you are the best! You have earned a place in basketball history and a place in many hearts in Tennessee and beyond.