Pat Summitt: Family Of Legendary Basketball Coach ‘Preparing To Say Goodbye’

Family members of Pat Summitt, the former University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach are “preparing for the worst” after the legendary coach was moved to hospice care, The Tennessean reports. Earlier on Sunday morning, the family issued a statement saying that “the past few days have been difficult for Pat as her early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type progresses.”

The statement further read;

“Pat is surrounded by those who mean the most to her and during this time, we ask for prayers for Pat and her family and friends, as well as your utmost respect and privacy. Thank you.”

An unnamed source, reportedly close to the family added that Summitt is currently “struggling.”

“I don’t think anybody knows whether she will last a day, a month, or a year…”

According to BroBible, family members and friends were making preparations to make public statements about Summitt’s condition.

Widely considered one of the greatest women’s basketball coaches of all time, Summitt has many accolades and achievements under her belt. She was the only woman coach to have made it into the Sporting News list of 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time in all sports, where she ranked number 11 on the list. In April 2000, Summitt was named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century. More recently, in 2012, Pat was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In the same year, she also received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Summitt, in her long, 38-year-old coaching career has never had a losing season. She started coaching the Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball team starting 1974 at the age of 22, and has never looked back ever since. With Summitt in charge, the team won 1,098 games, 32 SEC championships and eight national championships. Perhaps, Summitt’s greatest glory came when she coached the U.S. Olympic team to win a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics.

Widely considered one of the toughest coaches in college basketball history, she is also known for the “icy stare” she gave to poorly performing players, while sitting in the sidelines.

She remained the coach of the team until 2012, after she was diagnosed with early-onset dementia in August 2011. Due to her condition, she stepped down from her position as head coach. She was, however, given the title of head coach emeritus following her resignation. Following her prognosis, she established the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund in 2011. Most of the proceedings from the foundation goes toward Alzheimer’s research. In her honor, the Pat Summitt Plaza was dedicated on the campus of the University of Tennessee in November 2013. The Plaza also included a statue of Pat.

After the family announced Summitt’s deteriorating health, fans and players alike took to Twitter to talk about her. Read some of tweets embedded below.

Born June 14, 1952, in Clarksville, Tennessee, Pat Summitt was the fourth of five children. Her fondness for basketball was evident from childhood after she attended the Cheatham County High School in Ashland City, because at that time, Clarksville did not have a girls team. Pat married R. B. Summitt in 1980 with whom she has a son, Ross “Tyler” Summitt, born in 1990. The couple filed for divorce in 2007.

A speedy recovery for Pat Summitt is wished by many.

[AP Photo/Wade Payne, File]