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April 18, 2012
The coach's disclosure last spring that she was dealing with the early stages of Alzheimer's disease sent shock waves through the women's basketball community at large while ushering in speculation that 2011-12 would be her final season on the sidelines.
Summitt confirmed that speculation on Wednesday, ending a career that will go down in the coaching record books as one of the greatest of all time, regardless of the sport.
She plans to stay involved in the program in her new role where here duties will include serving as a liaison to the Director of Athletics, continuing to be involved in on-campus recruiting, and serving as a personal mentor to players, including as a life skills coaching.
"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 Summittt in a statement. "I support Holly Warlick being named the next head coach, and I want to help ensure the stability of the program going forward. I would like to emphasize that I fully intend to continue working as head coach emeritus, mentoring and teaching life skills to our players, and I will continue my active role as a spokesperson in the fight against Alzheimer's through the Pat Summittt Foundation Fund.
"If anyone asks, you can find me observing practice or in my office. Coaching is the great passion of my life, and the job to me has always been an opportunity to work with our student-athletes and help them discover what they want. I will continue to make them my passion. I love our players and my fellow coaches, and that's not going to change."
The all-time wins leader among college basketball coaches, Summittt finishes her 38-season career at Tennessee with a 1,098-208 record and an .841 winning pct. The Lady Vols won an unparalleled eight national championships under her leadership (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, and 2008) and played in 13 national championship games. Tennessee also won the SEC Championship and SEC Tournament title 16 times each, and Summittt was named SEC Coach of the Year eight times and NCAA Coach of the Year in seven seasons. Her sixth national championship team, the 1997-98 team, finished a perfect 39-0.
Additionally, the Tennessee women's basketball team has reached the NCAA Final Four 18 times, tied with the UCLA and North Carolina men for the most all-time by a college basketball program. Summittt's 18 trips to the Final Four is the most all-time among coaches, and her eight national titles trails only the 10 won by former UCLA coach John Wooden in Division I college basketball. Including the years as a member of the AIAW and four Final Four trips between 1977-81, Tennessee played in a combined 22 Final Fours overall during Summittt's tenure. The program has appeared in 25 NCAA Regional finals, posting an 18-7 record, and the Lady Vols are 48-1 all-time in NCAA First and Second Round games.
Warlick spent four years at Tennessee as a player under Summitt and has been by her former coach's side for the past 27 seasons as an assistant.