Collegiate Sports Legend and Head Coach Emeritus of the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers Pat Head Summitt is being honored with the Tigrett Award at the 23rd Annual West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation’s Charity Gala on Saturday, November 10, 2012.
A consummate taskmaster, she has kept her elite program in the winner’s circle for almost four decades, producing a mind-boggling record of 1,098-208 (.840). During her tenure, the Lady Vols have won eight NCAA titles, as well as an amazing 32 Southeastern Conference tournament and regular season championships. Tennessee has made an unprecedented 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament and produced 12 Olympians, 20 Kodak All-Americans named to 34 teams, and 77 All-SEC performers. Along with the success on the court, Summitt’s student-athletes have tremendous productivity in the classroom. Coach Summitt has a 100 percent graduation rate for all Lady Vols who have completed their eligibility at Tennessee.
Her honors and achievements over the years number in the hundreds. The Sporting News named the 50 Greatest Coaches of All-Time. Summitt was voted the 11th best of all-time and was the only woman on the list. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in June of 1999, into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in October of 2000, and was the third member of the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame in June of 2011.
More recently, the United States Sports Academy awarded Summitt its 2011 Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award. Also in October of last year, The Huffington Post named Summitt a 2011 Game Changer - an innovator, leader and role model who is changing the way we look at the world and the way we live in it. The Tennessee Communication Association selected Summitt for its most prestigious award, Communicator of the Year.
The honors continued. Among those was Summitt being announced by President Barack Obama as the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on April 19, 2012. She also earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports & Nutrition on May 3. Additionally, she has been announced as the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame’s 2012 Tennessean of the Year and the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which will be presented on July 11 at the 2012 ESPYs.
Summitt, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history (men or women), ended her 38th campaign with eight NCAA Championships in the trophy case, including her most recent back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008.
Summitt stands alone at the 1,000-victory plateau among all NCAA coaches, having passed the 900-win club members retired Don Meyer (923-324, .746) of Northern State, NCAA Div. II; Herb Magee (922-366, .715; still active at Philadelphia Univ., NCAA Div. II); retired Bob Knight (902-317, .706) and Jody Conradt (900-307, .746).
On Aug. 22, 2011, Summitt courageously revealed the toughest opponent she will ever have to battle, early onset dementia, “Alzheimer’s type,” after the doctors at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed her at the age of 59. To be sure, Summitt intends to take on this opponent with her signature game plan.
Past Tigrett Award recipients include: Fashion Designer and Philanthropist Pat Kerr Tigrett, United States Senator and Ambassador Howard Baker, Actress Dixie Carter, Television Personality Wink Martindale, Legendary singer Brenda Lee and United States Senator Lamar Alexander.