CHAMPIONS: Pat Summit and the Lady Volunteers

CHAMPIONS: Pat Summit and the Lady Volunteers

Next weekend the NCAA Women’s Final Four takes place in Nashville, Tennessee and it will be missing the local Lady Vols and its legendary coach Pat Summit who retired in 2012 due to early onset Alzheimer’s disease.   Summit rivals John Wooden as the most successful college basketball coach in history and played a pivotal role in the growth of women’s basketball in the U.S.   Tennessee tried to convince her to coach its men’s tram without success.

Embed from Getty Images Over the weekend, I saw ESPN’s touching tribute to Summit “Pat XO” which gives you a great appreciation for the steel lady in orange and her many achievements – the greatest of which is a 100% graduate rate.  Although 8 national championships, 18 final four appearances and 1098 wins are pretty impressive by themselves as well – that’s more than Coach K, Dean Smith and all the other great male coaches except John Wooden who has less wins and final four appearances, but two more championships.

Her 8 national championships include a 1998 team that was only the 3rd women’s team to go undefeated.  The last team to do so was Baylor in 2012 which eliminated the Lady Vols in the Elite 8 in Summit’s final game.



While Summit did not win a National Championship her final year, she did win the highest civilian honor in America – the Medal of Freedom.

Since then, Summit’s foundation has been raising awareness and money towards Alzheimer’s research and provides grants to Alzheimer’s care givers.

Over the course of her  career, she has amassed the following other honors.

Awards and titles

16-time SEC Champions (1980, 1985, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011)
16-time SEC Tournament Champions (1980, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012)[11]
8-time SEC Coach of the Year (1983, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011)
7-time NCAA Coach of the Year (1983, 1987, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2004)
8-time NCAA Champions (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2008)

1990: Inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame as a coach, the first year coaches were honored.
1999: Inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class.
2000: Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
2013: Inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame
April 2000.: Named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century.
2008: Named Best Coach/Manager ESPY Award. Award encompasses all sports college and professional
2009: Named to Sporting News’ list of the 50 greatest coaches of all time (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, college basketball, and college football). She is listed in position 11.
2011: Named Sports Illustrated’s Sportswoman of the Year, Dec. 6th, 2011 in NYC. (She shared the Sportsman/Sportswoman honor with Duke University men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski.)

Note: The first season for NCAA Division I women’s basketball was the 1981–82 season. Prior to that, Tennessee played women’s basketball in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) in Division I.


  • Tied for NCAA women’s basketball championships (8) with Geno Auriemma
  • Most seasons coached in NCAA/AIAW play without a losing record (38, lost more than 9 games in a season only 6 times and more than 10 games in a season only twice)
  • Most consecutive NCAA/AIAW postseason appearances (38, never missed a tournament)
  • Most number 1 seeds in NCAA Division I postseason play (20)
  • Most wins as an NCAA/AIAW Division I basketball head coach (1,098; in second place is Mike Krzyzewski with 972 wins)
  • Most wins in NCAA postseason play (109)
  • Most NCAA Final Four appearances (18, six more than John Wooden, who holds the men’s records)
  • Most NCAA/AIAW Championship game appearances (15)
  • Most 20-win seasons in NCAA/AIAW play (36, all consecutive seasons)
  • Most 30-win seasons in NCAA/AIAW play (20)
  • Third all-time in winning percentage (minimum 10 seasons) (.841), bested only by Geno Auriemma (.862) and Leon Barmore (.869)


  • 45 former players have become coaches.
  • Every Lady Vol player who completed her eligibility at Tennessee under Summitt graduated with a degree or is in the process of doing so.
  • Every Lady Vol player who completed her eligibility at Tennessee under Summitt played in at least one Elite Eight.






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