The “Wizard of Knoxville”
Dementia diagnosis will not stop Pat Summitt
They’ve called Pat Summitt a ground breaker, a legend, an inspiration and the “Wizard of Knoxville,” a nod to UCLA’s John Wooden, who may be the only college basketball coach who can compare.
She’s recorded more than 1,000 victories at Tennessee in women’s basketball, eight national titles, two Olympic medals (silver as a U.S. player in 1976 and gold as Team USA women’s head coach in 1984) and enough memories for multiple lifetimes.
Only here comes the saddest news of all, Pat Summitt, at just age 59, has been diagnosed with early onset dementia.
Really though, nothing is certain, except this is one cruel disease.
And how brutal is it that a woman of such accomplishment, wisdom and impact might have her career cut short, robbing any number of players that would’ve enjoyed her guidance.
She’s an indomitable presence, who made her point about increased funding and opportunity and understanding through force of will, not whine. Pat Summitt didn’t claim people owed her or her women anything. She just proved they did.