Pat Summitt Plaza is well-deserved honor for legendary coach

Nov. 25, 2013 @ 12:13 AM

Friday was a day of smiles and a few tears for many in Knoxville as the University of Tennessee unveiled Pat Summitt Plaza and the new statue of the legendary coach.

Located on the corner of Lake Loudoun Boulevard and Philip Fulmer Way, the plaza honors the eight-time national championship-winning Summitt and shines as a beacon of her time with the Lady Vols.

It’s a fitting tribute.

Summitt is without doubt one of the most influential women in Tennessee history.

Her commitment to the Lady Vols and the sport of women’s college basketball, her determination and stoic grace under pressure helped mold both the game and the advancement of women’s athletics across the nation and the world. Always one to deflect praise, Summitt was humble about the occasion.

“Today is not about me,” she said. “It’s about everyone out here that loves the University of Tennessee. And we just hope and pray that we can continue to do good things.

“Tyler (Summitt’s adult son) has been a rock for me, and I appreciate him. And for that I just want everybody to know how much I appreciate what’s happened here today. I think I’ll never forget it,” she said.

In her current battle with Alzheimer’s, Summitt’s legend will only grow, as she fights to increase awareness of the disease and be a public face for the fight millions of Americans and their families fight on a daily basis.

“What she has done these last three years battling this disease has taught us so much,” former UT Women’s Athletic Director Joan Cronan said. “She is a woman of courage and has done it with such class.”

They’ll never be another like Patricia Sue Summitt.