The sports world is mourning the loss of one of the most influential coaches of all time, and a giant in women's college basketball. Tennessee Volunteers legend Pat Summitt died Tuesday at the age of 64 after a long battle with early-onset dementia, Alzheimer's type. University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma paid tribute to Summitt Tuesday morning in an interview on ESPN.
"From a competitive standpoint, it was the one program, the one game that you... each year you kinda measured yourself and your team. 'Hey, when we play that game, we'll know if we're good enough to win a national championship or not.
From a personal standpoint I think you can see how difficult it was back then for a woman to try to do something that really no one had ever done before, and no one thought you could do it. Trying to juggle being a mom and being a coach and being a representative for the game. From all the different aspects of looking at what her career was, there were a lot of things that she was the first. There were other people that did it, but nobody did it better or did it longer.
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.... The game of women's basketball was pretty much defined, and other people have defined it for very, very short periods of time, but from the time I got to Virginia in 1981 to when Pat stopped coaching, she was the defining figure of the game of women's basketball. Lots of people coach the game, but very few get to define the game."