Pat Summitt, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history and bestselling author of Reach for the Summitt and Raise the Roof, tells her remarkable story of victory and resilience both on and off the court.
Summitt was only 21 when she became head coach of the Tennessee Vols women’s basketball team. For 38 years, she has broken records, winning more games than any NCAA team in basketball history. She coached an undefeated season, cocaptained the first women’s Olympic team, was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and was named Sports Illustrated “Sportswoman of the Year.’
She owes her coaching success to her personal struggles and triumphs. She learned to be tough from her strict, demanding father. Motherhood taught her to balance rigidity with kindness and communication. She is a role model for the many women she’s coached—74 of her players have become coaches.
Summitt’s life took a shocking turn in 2011, when she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, an irreversible brain condition that affects five million Americans. Despite her devastating diagnosis, she led the Vols to win their sixteenth SEC championship in March 2012. Summitt continues to be a fighter, facing this new challenge the way she’s faced every other—with hard work, perseverance, and a sense of humor.
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