Pat Summitt Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

May 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm (inspiration, sports, ut) (, , , )

Pat Summitt PresMedalofHonor

Pat Summitt received the Presidential Medal of Freedom earlier today in a ceremony at the White House.  President Obama presented Summitt with the award, which is the nation’s highest civilian honor.  According to a news release by the White House, the award is given to honor those who have made especially notable contributions in their field to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

When she was first announced to be a recipient of the prestigious award, President Obama said, “Coach Summitt is an inspiration – both as the all-time winningest NCAA coach, and as someone who is willing to speak so openly and courageously about her battle with Alzheimer’s. Pat’s gift has always been her ability to push those around her to new heights, and over the last 38 years, her unique approach has resulted in both unparalleled success on the court and unrivaled loyalty from those who know her and those whose lives she has touched. Pat’s coaching career may be over, but I’m confident that her work is far from finished. I look forward to awarding her this honor.”

During her illustrious career, Coach Summitt has become the all-time winningest NCAA coach, male or female. She has racked up more awards than can be counted, including Naismith Women’s Collegiate Coach of the Century. The court at Thompson-Boling Arena is named ‘The Summitt’ in her honor.  She played on the silver medal team in the 1976 U.S. Olympics, then coached the U.S. to a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics.  After 37 seasons coaching, all at Tennessee, her record was 1071-199 (84.3). She had 18 Final Four appearances and won 8 National Championships. She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. 

Although her coaching career has officially ended, and the wins and losses won’t be tallied any longer, Summitt will continue to make a difference.  She will still be the spokesperson in the fight against Alzheimer’s through her own Pat Summitt Foundation and she will still mentor the student-athletes whom she so loves.  

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