ONE WOMAN’S IMPACT: Pat Summitt (1952-2016)

It is what it is. But, it will be what you make it.

Pat Summitt
Legendary Lady Vols basketball coach
University of Tennessee


Pat Summitt, the “winningest” coach in NCAA Division I basketball history, died today—two weeks short of her 65th birthday.


This post is not about sports.


If you’re interested in women’s basketball, you already know Pat Summitt “by the numbers”. They’re very impressive. She was impressive, and flags fly at half-staff today here in Tennessee in celebration of her life and legacy.


There is, however, one number associated with Coach Summitt that gets my ultimate respect:


100% of her student athletes graduated from college.


She set the bar high for herself and those around her. She embraced hard work and expected her athletes to do the same. She knew that each person’s choices affect their future, and she modeled commitment and success for her Lady Vols because she wanted the best for each one.


She knew no job was too big or too small for her best efforts.


For the past five years, Pat Summitt walked the path of early-onset Alzheimer’s. Many of your families, like mine, know the difficulty of that path. Coach Summitt began that journey with her usual grace, and family and friends surrounded her to the end.


Tennessee lost a treasured daughter. My thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and former players. Grief and Pat Summitt stories mix. The impact of one woman reaches worldwide.


But Pat Summitt would be the first to say she didn’t do it alone.


Although she played to her strengths, she surrounded herself with good people. She was the leader, but she led people to take ownership of their choices and their future.


You and I can do the same.

  • How will the choices I make today affect my future?
  • What legacy am I leaving?
  • With what kind of people am I surrounding myself?
  • Am I an encourager to those around me?



Middle pic on the left: Pat Summitt autographed basketball


The above sports-themed tablescape was part of the 2012 Festival of Tables event.


  1. Clearly she felt God’s purpose for her life, and she used her special gifts to make better the lives of others. That is a goal to which we can all strive.

  2. Susan your posts always speak to me. They make me think. Yes, the death of someone who has lived such a full and inspiring life is a good time to ask ourselves the questions that you pose. I love the idea of being an encourager in life and I need to reflect on the four powerful questions at the end of this post. I’m not sure I’m where I want to be yet, but I guess that’s the point. We’re always moving forward with the potential for growth (thank goodness). It sounds like you’re having an amazing summer. Thanks for taking time to visit my humble little blog, I can’t tell you how much it means to have a reader like you.