at Summitt, the legendary coach at Tennessee, was famous for saying that, while talented players made it easier to win games, she would only recruit players whom she observed to be mentally tough and coachable. Summitt knew it would be difficult to defeat people who never allowed themselves to feel or perform defeated. “I need mental giants, not mental midgets.” Summitt said. She won a record 1,098 games.
Summitt was diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type in 2012, and passed away from complications with the disease in the summer of 2016. But, despite her dire diagnosis, Summitt fought the disease publicly and with her signature ferocity. She told players and friends who called to check on her not to pity her, but to fight alongside her. Pat used the last years of her life with good memory to author a bestselling book and to create the Pat Summitt Foundation for Alzheimer’s. The foundation raises awareness and funds with the goal of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. Summitt is a prime example of the importance of a positive mentality in any situation.
Coach Sa’de was the youngest player ever recruited by Summitt, and played for her as a freshman in 2005 and Sophomore year in 2006. Canaan York was a student manager for the vaunted basketball program under Summitt, attending three final fours with the Lady Vols.