Pat Summitt steps down as Tennessee women's basketball coach
Summitt, seen here in 2011, announced she had early onset Alzheimer's disease last year.
April 18th, 2012
02:08 PM ET

Pat Summitt steps down as Tennessee women's basketball coach

[Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET] Eight months after revealing her diagnosis with early-onset Alzheimer's, the head coach of the University of Tennessee's women's basketball team announced she was stepping down Wednesday.

Summitt, who led the Lady Vols to eight national championships and whose 1,098 wins are the most in major-college basketball history, will now serve as "head coach emeritus," helping with on-campus recruiting, mentoring players and serving as a liaison between the coaching staff and the athletics director, Tennessee said.

"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," Summitt, 60, said in a statement released by Tennessee.

Holly Warlick, an assistant on the Tennessee staff for 27 seasons and a former Lady Vols player, has been named Summitt's successor.

"I support Holly Warlick being named the next head coach, and I want to help ensure the stability of the program going forward," Summitt said. "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 Summitt Foundation Fund."

Tennessee has scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon.

Summitt, who started coaching Tennessee in 1974, revealed her early-onset Alzheimer's diagnosis in August, more than two months before the 2011-12 basketball season began. Alzheimer’s causes significant memory and cognition problems; early-onset means the disease was found before age 65.

Before the season began, Summitt revealed her plan for continuing to coach with the disease: She said she scaled back some of her workload, was relying on her staff do do more tasks, was taking medication and was following a "gameplan" to keep her mind sharp.

The Lady Vols finished this season with a 27-9 record, advancing to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight before losing to eventual champion Baylor.

"If anyone asks, you can find me observing practice or in my office," Summitt said. "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."

soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Never, Ever "Replaced!"

    CNN, get with it and delete this offensive headline!! Coach is stepping down from active coaching due to illness.

    April 18, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Are you high?

      April 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Always Orange

    Thank You Pat, you are one of a kind

    April 18, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bails

    Pat you will be missed!!!!!!!!! My prayers are with this wonderful woman, and her contributions to Tennessee and the Lady Vol program are endless! Wow...this brings a tear to my eye. Sad day in Rocky Top.

    April 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Melinda

    My hero leaves a brillliant legacy – in Tennessee and for all of women's sports. Pat is following her own mandate: "Put Your Team Before Yourself." Holly is ready.
    P.S. Note to Baylor, Notre Dame, Stanford and especially to UConn: see you soon!

    April 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marlin

      Coach Kim will be waiting :)

      April 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. The Rick

    I wonder if she is seeing anyone right now? I have a Trans Am and am cool like Mr Buurt Renolds

    April 18, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Christine

    Pat, I so enjoyed watching you coach! Peace and love to you!

    April 18, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The Rick

    She is still young and looks incredible. She should go on cruises and wonderful trips and have fun. I have a 1978 Trans Am and am single if she is looking for a nice gentleman to travel with. She is awesome.

    April 18, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    So....do you really mean this, or did you just want to make a statement with your username?

    April 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not Always your Favorite

      I don't get this routine of yours. Explain.

      April 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      If you are talking to me, the post I was referring to was deleted.

      April 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Shakira

    Good luck to you Coach, I wish you nothing but the best of luck. You are an incredible woman and you have done the SEC proud.

    April 18, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jamie

    Been watching Pat coach since the beginning. Sad day for basketball! We wish you the best Pat and may you have many days of clarity in the future. Thanks for the memories!

    April 18, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. LeftFL

    I have followed Coach Summitt for years and years, My mom had Altzeimers too and I know that this is a battle that Pat will need to put all her well known energy and passion into. I will keep her in my prayers and thoughts and thank her for all the years of great sportsmanship and dedication. There will never be another.

    April 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sammie

    A class act... now and always.

    April 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Not Always your Favorite

    I look fwd to asking her "Remember when ....." and her answer being "Actually...no, I don't.".

    April 18, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brian Philipp

    Thanks Coach ! As a parent of a H.S. lady hoopster, your the type of coach every parents prays our kid runs into while playing sports ! Go Lady Vols !

    April 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Thomas Williams

    Pat Summit has left a legacy that is unequaled by anyone in college athletics. It will be hard to watch a Tenn. women's game and not see Pat on the sidelines coaching her team. Very sorry to see her go, but certainly it is understandable. Good luck to you coach Summit, and we will miss you!

    April 18, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
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