Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Woman of the Week - Pat Summitt

Pat Summitt is the all-time winningest coach in the history of NCAA basketball. She recently announced her retirement as head coach from the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team. Her decision to retire was based on her diagnosis of early-onset dementia. Many people are sad to see her step down as head coach, but she has had an amazing career. She coached the Lady Vols for 38 years, and she led them to win eight NCAA national championships. Summitt is the only NCAA coach with over 1,000 victories. She has had such an impressive career, and I know it must be hard for her to retire, but she will now be the head coach emeritus for the Lady Vols.

Sidebar: I have an issue with the team being called the "Lady Vols." My feminist group in college dedicated one of our meetings to women in sports. I remember mentioning that I was bothered that our women's teams were called the "Lady Panthers" while the men's teams were just the "Panthers." Why weren't the men’s teams called the "Gentlemen Panthers?" Calling women's teams the "Lady [insert mascot here]" is wrong because it implies that women aren't normal - that we need to have a different label. Maybe one day we can all be Panthers or Vols, and then we can drop this whole "Lady" business.

Anyway, I’ll get back to Summitt. Her 38-year coaching career has been an inspiration to many women. In addition to her successful coaching career, she has written two books: "Reach for the Summit" and "Raise the Roof." I'll have to put those on my reading list. I can never read enough books about triumphant women. Over her long career, Pat Summitt has proven that she is a fighter, and I hope she is able to enjoy her time as head coach emeritus while battling her disease. My thoughts will be with her.

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