Pat Summitt, who was diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer's type, a mere eight months ago, announced Wednesday that she would be stepping down as the Tennessee women's basketball head coach.
Summitt moves over to a newly created head coach emeritus position that will allow her to continue mentoring her players and staying around the program for as long as her health allows. She'll still have an impact on the basketball program, but going forward it will be her longtime assistant Holly Warlick who will be running the show on the bench.
I've loved being the head coach at Tennessee for 38 years, but I recognize that the time has come to move into the future and to step into a new role, said Summitt.
In her 38 years at Tennessee, Summitt racked up 1,098 wins and eight national championships, and guided the 1984 Olympic team to a gold medal. She's widely recognized the most famous coach in women's basketball and will likely be lauded as the greatest women's basketball coach in history.
CBS Sports columnist Gregg Doyel called her the greatest coach there will ever be in women's hoops.
But Summitt is more than that. She's the greatest coach in college basketball history, period.
Summitt's 1,098 wins are the most in college basketball -- for either men or women. She has more than 100 more victories than her closest competition in Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (927 wins) or retired Indiana coach Bob Knight (902 wins).
She's also won eight national championships -- the most in women's college basketball and second to only John Wooden's 10 in all of college basketball. Summitt also won an astounding 16 SEC championships, 16 SEC conference titles, and seven NCAA Coach of the Year awards. And perhaps best of all, according to CBS Sports' Tony Barnhart, every player who completed eligibility at Tennessee under Summitt has graduated.
The fact that she coached women and not men shouldn't factor in whatsoever when evaluating the best coaches. She could have coached any type of basketball team -- high school, college, or even an NBA team -- and been successful.
It's a discredit to Summitt's outstanding career to simply view her accomplishments through the prism of women's sports. She certainly gets credit for making women's basketball nationally relevant with her dominant teams throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, but her basketball principles and style of coaching have widespread appeal.
Pat is one of those rare individuals whose influence crosses all boundary lines, Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale told USA Today. Literally thousands of coaches in a vast array of sports abide by her tenets, passing them on as gospel to their players.
So let's shower Summitt with as many compliments and congratulations as possible on her amazing 38-year career at Tennessee. But please don't diminish her amazing accomplishments by only viewing her as a women's basketball coach.
She's the greatest college basketball coach there ever was.