published Thursday, August 25th, 2011

UT coach Pat Summitt’s great spirit

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    Tennessee coach Pat Summitt announced Tuesday she has early onset dementia.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most successful coaches of all times, among both men and women and in all kinds of sports.

She is an inspirational leader, as she has proved with her tremendous success over many years in the fiercest of athletic competition.

Now she’s experiencing a different kind of challenge — and is facing it with her trademark determination.

Coach Summitt, having had some uncharacteristic moments of memory lapse at age 59, reports that she has been diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., with early onset dementia — the Alzheimer’s type.

There surely is no question that her competitive instinct will continue unabated, but she says she expects to be “relying on my outstanding coaching staff like never before.”

“I plan to continue to be your coach,” Summitt said.

Her positive attitude is typical of her long, well-known and productive career.

She has shown that she is a marvelous leader, making both her players and herself winners in many respects, both on and off the court.

Now, coach Summitt will have countless family members, players, friends and fans cheering for her continued success in life and in her fabled basketball career as she confronts a new challenge with the upbeat spirit for which she is widely admired.

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