Pat Summitt, college basketball’s winningest coach, has stepped down as coach of the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team.
In a press release, the university said she will now hold the title of head coach emeritus and Associate Head Coach Holly Warlick will take her place.
In that release Summitt 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. I support Holly Warlickbeing named the next head coach, and I want to help ensure the stability of the program going forward. 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.
“If anyone asks, you can find me observing practice or in my office. 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.”
If you remember, last summer Summitt announced that she had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Summitt is stepping down on a high note: The Lady Volunteers finished just shy of the Final Four this season.
The Washington Post spoke to Summitt today:
“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 andproductive 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 is what it is,’ Summitt said. ‘And Holly has been doing a lot, and we not only have a great friendship, we understand each other. And we can work through this.'”