This morning, coaching legend Pat Summitt passed away at the age of 64. The loss is hitting the sports world hard, and UK just released statements on Summitt’s passing from athletics director Mitch Barnhart and women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell, who started his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Summitt at Tennessee in 2000.
“We are saddened by the news of Coach Summitt’s passing,” Mitchell said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Summitt family and the Lady Vol family. She impacted millions of people in such positive ways. Pat gave me the incredible privilege to work for her and she taught me so much. I will be eternally grateful for that opportunity. All of us who learned from her should now make certain we pass along the lessons she taught. She will be greatly missed but her positive impact on the game of basketball and on the people she led will last forever.”
Barnhart also worked with Summitt at Tennessee as an administrator from 1986-1998.
“Summarizing Pat Summitt’s impact is impossible because she embodied all of the virtues you can imagine as a coach and a leader, from class to toughness to passion,” Barnhart said. “Working with her at Tennessee was truly an honor, as was competing against her. She was an incredible icon in not only the game of women’s basketball, but in sports in general. She was a trailblazer who helped pave the way for what women’s sports are today and we are eternally grateful to her. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the Summitt family and the Tennessee Athletics family. Pat will be missed.”
John Calipari also took to Twitter to reflect on Summitt’s career and offer his condolences.
“Hall of Famer Pat Summitt, a true ambassador for our sport, has also passed away. She championed women everywhere and created opportunities for them. Would there be a WNBA without her influence? Rest in peace, Pat. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”