Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt waves to the fans after Tennessee defeated Kentucky 90-65 to win the NCAA college basketball championship game at the Southeastern Conference tournament on Sunday, March 6, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
KNOXVILLE - University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with early onset dementia, the Times Free Press confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
In a video statement released on the UT athletic web site later Tuesday afternoon, Summitt said she wanted to address some ongoing health concerns. After visiting with locals doctors, she visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where doctors diagnosed her with early onset dementia ("Alzheimer's type).
"I plan to continue to be your coach," Summitt said. "I realize I may have some limitations with this condition since there will be some good days and some bad days.
"For that reason, I will be relying on my outstanding coaching staff like never before. We have always collaborated on every facet of Lady Vol basketball; and now you will see Holly Warlick, Dean Lockwood and Mickie DeMoss taking on more responsibility as their duties will change significantly."
The 59-year-old Summitt, who has 1,071 career victories, eight national titles and an Olympic gold medal, still plans to coach the Lady Volunteers this season.
"Pat Summitt is our head coach and she will continue to be," said Joan Cronan, UT's interim athletic director and school's women's athletic director for more than 30 years. "She is an icon not only for women's basketball but for all of women's athletics. For Pat to stand-up and share her health new is just a continuing example of her courage.
"Life is an unknown and none of us have a crystal ball. But I do have a record of knowing what Pat Summitt stands for; excellence, strength, honesty and courage."
More coverage and reaction online and in Wednesday's Times Free Press.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...