Coach Pat Summitt: I Was Forced Out By The University of Tennessee

The nickname of the University of Tennessee is the Volunteers, but former head basketball coach Pat Summitt now says she didn’t voluntarily step down from the job last April after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Summitt, the legendary Tennessee coach for 38 years, won eight national championships. Her overall win-loss record is 1,098–208. She is winningest NCAA basketball coach of all time.

The revelation came to light in an affidavit (i.e., a sworn written statement) Summitt filed on behalf of a colleague who is suing the school in federal court for age and gender discrimination. Summitt currrently holds the title of head coach emeritus. Former assistant Holly Warlick took over as head coach of the Lady Vols after Summitt’s resignation.

CNN reports the specifics of the Pat Summitt affidavit filed in court yesterday:

“In her affidavit, Summitt described a meeting in March with athletic director Dave Hart, in which she said she was told she would no longer be coach after 38 seasons. Summit wrote in her affidavit that she had wanted to make that decision herself.

” ‘This was very surprising to me and very hurtful,’ ” Summitt wrote in her affidavit.”

Reuters adds that Summitt further explained in the affidavit that the decision to resign was one that “I would have liked to have made on my own at the end of the season after consulting with my family, doctors, colleagues and friends, and not be told this by Mr. Hart. I felt this was wrong.”

Hart reportedly told Summitt later that she had misinterpreted what he said in their March 14 private meeting.

Federal law makes it illegal to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual with a disability.