By Josh Kramer
Summit: The highest attainable level of achievement (courtesy of dictionary.com).
Not too many people in this world can say that they reached the summit of their chosen field. That they could climb no higher. That all goals and aspirations had been achieved in regards to their industry. The same goes for sports. Out of millions of athletes and coaches, only a handful can truly say that they reached the “summit”of their sport.
John Wooden, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali, Wayne Gretzky
Something all of these phenomenal people had in common was amazing discipline. Reaching the pinnacle of anything takes a whole lot of time and hard work. In other words, reaching the summit takes discipline. Well add Tennessee Women’s Head Basketball Coach Pat Summitt to that amazing list. In regards to discipline, Coach Summitt once said, “Discipline is the internal mechanism that self-motivates you. It gets you out of bed in the morning. It gets you to work on time and it tells you when you need to work late. It drives you. It is essential to success, whether individually or in a group.”
After 38 years manning the sidelines in Knoxville, Summitt is finally stepping down. It is a sad day not just for women’s hoops, but for college sports in general. Summitt has been a major ambassador for not just women’s sports, but for collegiate athletics in general for nearly four decades. She will not just be remembered for winning, but she will be remembered for the dignity and grace in which she achieved her success. Summitt set the gold standard.
It is safe to say that Summitt knew a thing or two about discipline.
Here are a few of her remarkable accomplishments:
-1098 wins in 38 seasons (Most al time for D1 Men or Women)
-8 National Championships (Most in D1 Women’s History)
-18 Final Four Appearances (Most all time for D1 Men or Women)
-Inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000
What didn’t Summitt do during her time in Knoxville in regards to basketball? She made women’s basketball a marquee forum despite residing at a school that had always been focused on football. She changed the lives of thousands of athletes and their families. She changed the sport of women’s basketball for the better. I really cannot think of anything else that Pat Summitt could have done in her coaching career. That leads me to believe that she truly could do more. It is the right time to step down and focus on other things. She had truly reached the summit of her profession.
Though Summitt will slowly but surely lose her memory due to Alzheimer’s, nobody will ever forget her and all she has done for basketball. Pat Summitt will be remembered not only for reaching the summit of her profession, but for redefining the summit of women’s basketball.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.