Pat Summitt Retires From Coaching

Pat Summitt, arguably the greatest women's basketball coach of all time, is stepping down to deal with Alzheimer's .

Pat Summitt, arguably the greatest women’s basketball coach of all time, is stepping down to deal with Alzheimer’s .

WaPo (“Pat Summitt to step down: legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach won 1,098 games, 8 NCAA titles“):

Eight months after disclosing her diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Pat Summitt was poised Wednesday to announce that she will step aside as the Tennessee women’s basketball coach, making way for longtime assistant Holly Warlick take over the Lady Vols.

The university will make the news official via a press release Wednesday afternoon afterSummitt meets with her players in Knoxville, Tenn., to inform them in private. A news conference is expected to follow Thursday.


The development brings a measure of stability to an inherently fluid and unknowable situation, with neither Summitt nor her doctors able to predict the course of the disease.

In an exclusive interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday morning, Summitt said the decision to step aside after 38 seasons as Tennessee’s coach was not difficult, particularly given her long and productive association with Warlick, an assistant these last 27 years who shouldered game-day coaching duties last season, when Tennessee went 27-9 and lost to eventual national champion Baylor in a NCAA tournament region final.

It’s sad that Summitt wasn’t able to go out on her own terms. At 59, she’s still relatively young. But this was inevitable given her declining health.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.