(From the May 2012 issue of Compete Magazine)
One of our recent blogs addressed Pat Summitt who recently ended her legendary 38-year career at the University of Tennessee as coach of the Lady Volunteers basketball program. Everyone, including Compete, was filled with praise and admiration for her.
That was not only for her coaching accomplishments but also for her courage in going public with the fact that she is battling dementia (a form of Alzheimer’s disease), something that triggered President Obama to award her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award possible. And Compete joins in sending her our heartiest congratulations for a job extremely well done and our very best wishes as she faces this next challenge in her life.
But let’s get back to Summitt’s coaching. She is listed as the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history and that includes both women’s and men’s teams in any division. During her tenure her teams have won eight NCAA national championships, second only to the record 10 titles won by legendary UCLA men’s coach John Wooden.
Since her start in 1974, she’s the only coach in the history of the NCAA (and overall, one of only three college coaches) with 1,000 victories. In fact, in her 38 years with the Lady Vols, Summitt has never had a losing season – just one of the reasons that her amazing list of awards include being named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century in 2000 and being listed as number 11 on the Sporting News list of the 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time in all sports in 2009; the only woman to make the list.
Summitt, who remains as “coach emerita” for Tennessee, is truly a superstar coach! But in spite of all the forward movement in women’s sports and the many positive videos by members of the LGBT community and their allies as part of the It Gets Better campaign, the plight of women coaches is not getting better; it’s getting worse. In the next issue of Compete we’ll be examining that phenomenon as part of a look at the 40th Anniversary of Title IX and how it has changed the face of women’s sports.
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