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Post Pat Summitt

Wednesday August 24, 2011

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Pat Summitt and her family as she begins life with the devastating diagnosis of early-onset dementia. Though Georgia’s rivalry with the Lady Vols has often been bitter on the court, there’s never been any question about the standards of professionalism, character, and excellence that have been set by Summitt and her program. There’s not a women’s basketball fan (or any serious sports fan for that matter) who shouldn’t respect what Summitt has accomplished and what she stands for.

Summitt plans to continue to coach for as long as she is able, and she’ll have an experienced and capable staff on which to lean. We’ve seen other coaches, notably N.C. State’s Kay Yow, become inspirational figures as they coached on while fighting other diseases. Summitt’s experience with her condition, as it plays out in the public eye, could likewise do much for education and awareness, fundraising, and hopefully one day a treatment and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

There’s a tendency in these kinds of posts to keep writing and say something stupid, so we’ll leave it at this: read this piece by Summitt collborator and friend Sally Jenkins. Summitt’s approach to her diagnosis and disease is right in character, but I came away with an immense respect for her son Tyler.

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