A growing list of celebrities and sports figures are coming together online to mourn the winningest coach in major college basketball history, Pat Summitt, who died Tuesday morning at the age of 64.
According to a statement issued by her son Tyler, Summitt was reportedly surrounded by family and a handful of her former players when she died from Alzheimer’s-related complications after a five-year battle with the disease.
“Since 2011, my mother has battled her toughest opponent, early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ and she did so with bravely fierce determination just as she did with every opponent she ever faced,” Tyler said. “Even though it’s incredibly difficult to come to terms that she is no longer with us, we can all find peace in knowing she no longer carries the heavy burden of this disease.”
Summitt resigned from coaching in 2012, one year after she announced she’d been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Over her 38 seasons as the team’s head coach, Summitt amassed 1,098 victories with the Tennessee Lady Vols, the most wins for a head coach in the history of Division I basketball (including men’s teams). She also led the team to eight national titles.
Speaking on Tuesday’s edition of SportsCenter, former Tennessee quarterback and two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning mourned Summitt’s death. “Speaking for me, Pat was a great friend to me, a great resource, and even though I never played for her I always felt like she was kind of one of my coaches,” he said. “I used to lean on her for advice. She was one of the people who I spoke with my junior year in college when I was deciding whether to turn pro or stay for my senior year, and she gave me some invaluable advice.”
Manning continued: “The word icon and the word legend is probably used too much in today’s sports society, but it is certainly appropriate when describing Pat Summitt,” the retired NFL player said. “That’s what she was. For those that knew her, I know I speak for all of them, when they say it was certainly an honor to call her a friend. I know that’s how I feel. Because she truly was the best.”
See what figures from the sports and entertainment worlds are saying about Summitt’s death and her lasting impact in the posts below: