Pat Summitt is the winningest, and probably best, ever to coach college basketball — women's and men's. Summitt has more victories than any other men's or women's coach (1,098), more women's NCAA titles (eight), more Final Four appearances (18), and more accomplishments overall as a player, coach, and ambassador of the game.
When Patricia Sue Head was named the coach at Tennessee in 1974 there was no NCAA Tournament for women; in fact, there was no officially sanctioned NCAA women's basketball. Her first successful battle was to end the six-player game; her next was to help with the institution of Title IX — which offered equal rights, equal number of sports, equal scholarships for women's college sports. Then she led the effort among coaches to begin an NCAA championship tournament, which came to fruition in 1982.
Summitt won her first of eight championships in 1987, produced the first three-peat, and won the championship in three different decades. She was named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century in April 2000 and in 38 years as a coach, she never had a losing season. When Tennessee built a new basketball arena, the Lady Vols, not the men's team, were responsible for filling it, setting women's basketball season and one-game (24,653) attendance records. Twice, Tennessee administrators asked Summitt to take over as coach of the men's program, but she declined.
Pat co-captained the first United States women's national basketball team as a player at the inaugural women's tournament at the 1976 Summer Olympics, winning the silver medal. Eight years later in 1984, she coached the U.S. women's team to an Olympic gold medal, becoming the first U.S. Olympian to win a basketball medal and coach a medal-winning team. It was announced on April 20, 2012, Barack Obama will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian award in the United States – to Pat Summit.
Above all the wins and championships, I believe the most impressive records are: there has never been a NCAA violation and every Lady Vol player who completed her eligibility at Tennessee under Summitt graduated with a degree or is in the process of doing so.
For all off the reasons stated I firmly believe the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) should name the Division I Women's Basketball Championship Trophy in honor of Patricia Head Summitt.
16-time SEC Champions (1980, 1985, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011)
16-time SEC Tournament Champions (1980, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012)
8-time SEC Coach of the Year (1983, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011)
7-time NCAA Coach of the Year (1983, 1987, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2004)
8-time NCAA Champions (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2008)
Most NCAA women's basketball championships (8)
Most seasons coached in NCAA/AIAW play without a losing record (38)
Most consecutive NCAA/AIAW postseason appearances (38, never missed a tournament)
Most number 1 seeds in NCAA Division I postseason play (20)
Most wins as an NCAA/AIAW Division I basketball head coach (1,098)
Most wins in NCAA postseason play (109)
Most NCAA Final Four appearances (18)
Most NCAA/AIAW Championship game appearances (15)
Most 20-win seasons in NCAA/AIAW play (36, all consecutive seasons)
Most 30-win seasons in NCAA/AIAW play (20)
Third all-time in winning percentage
45 former players have become coaches.
Every Lady Vol player who completed her eligibility at Tennessee under Summitt played in at least one Elite Eight.
Every Lady Vol player who completed her eligibility at Tennessee under Summitt graduated with a degree or is in the process of doing so.
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