The world has lost Pat Summitt, the coach who put women’s basketball on the map

On Tuesday, legendary women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt passed away at age 64 from early-onset Alzheimer’s. She lived with the disease for almost five years,and had retired from her position back in April 2012 after coaching for 38 seasons at Tennessee.

The New York Times credited Pat with transforming women’s basketball into a national phenomenon that draws wide audiences. In 1976, she co-captained the women’s Olympic team and was head coach of the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, where they won gold. She was later inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.

She’s remembered fondly by all she worked with, including Candace Parker, the star of Tennessee’s 2007 and ’08 national championship teams.

“No matter who needs her — from the last person on the bench to a manager to whoever — she knew everybody by name and treated them as if they were her own,” Candace told ESPN. “She’s made a huge impact on women’s basketball. And she would be more excited and more proud in making an impact on an individual. Whenever I was going through things at Tennessee, she would open her door, and I’d come in and sit down.”

We so appreciate Pat Summitt for her girl-power contribution to the world of sports, and for the life she dedicated to coaching and helping other young women. Her legacy will live on in all those she’s inspired, and the doors she’s opened for so many other girls who want to live a life of sports.

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