Pat Summitt, Legendary Women’s Basketball Coach And Overall Badass, Has Died At 64

2016 has been a particularly tough year thus far for a lot of reasons. One of these being the high number of deaths of influential celebrity icons. Today, sports legend Pat Summitt passed away at the age of 64. The famed basketball coach has won more games than any coach in college basketball history, male or female, for Tennessee’s Lady Vols.

“Summitt stepped down after 38 seasons and 1,098 victories at Tennessee in April 2012, at 59, less than a year after she learned she had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease,” according to The New York Times.

Many celebrities and athletes have taken to social media to express their condolences and to celebrate her memory, including the President himself.

She valued her players’ education over everything. 

statement released by President Obama this morning included the detail that she had “a 100 percent graduation rate among her players who completed their athletic eligibility.” A perfect record.

According to U.S.News, Summit insisted that her players sit in the first three rows during lectures, driving home the idea that “Class is more important than a game.”

A number of statements have been released and published today directly on The Pat Summitt Foundation’s website. This was founded by Pat and Tyler Summitt (Pat’s son) to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s so that one day no family has to hear that a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

An excerpt from one of the statements gives a clear picture of the kind of person Summitt was, beyond the role of coach.

“Of all the records, awards, and stats, Pat would point to one number as the most significant in her career – 161. This is the number of Lady Vols who contributed to the 1,098 wins over the span of her illustrious career. To these 161 student-athletes she was more than a coach – she was a friend, mentor and a loving mother.”

She was also low-key a truly great feminist in a beautifully non-performative way. She just did the damn thing.

Sports Illustrated noted in 1998, “Although Pat Summitt never raised a placard or a peep for women’s rights, Ms. Summitt became, by steely example, an unconscious revolutionary who’s tearing up the terrain of sexual stereotypes.”

The internet is now flooded with Summitt’s flawless inspirational quotes, such as this one,

 “Success is a project that’s always under construction.”

Her memoir, “Sum It Up” (written with Sally Jenkins), was a best seller in 2013, and just moved to the top of my personal summer reading list.