Marquette takes turn at backing Summitt
Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 7:00 pm
By MICHAEL USCHAN
MILWAUKEE (AP) — They stood and cheered once again for legendary coach Pat Summitt at a women’s college basketball game Saturday night.
This time, it was not for a victory, but her ongoing fight against Alzheimer’s disease, which forced her to step down as Tennessee head coach last year after 38 years in which she had more victories than any other NCAA coach, male or female — 1,098.
“It’s a special night to have my son here and to have everybody backin’ Pat,” Summitt said at halftime of the game in which Toledo beat Marquette 82-71.
Her son, Tyler, is a Marquette assistant
“I thank all of you for being here. There are so many wonderful fans and friends, and we really appreciate all of you,” Summitt said.
Tennessee orange was scattered throughout the Al McGuire Center, but more people were wearing white “We Back Pat” T-shirts. Fans bought them to support the Pat Summitt Foundation she founded to fight Alzheimer’s.
Tyler thanked the crowd of 1,441 and mentioned a family ideal that explains why she is fighting the disease so hard.
“A saying in our household is ‘It is what it is, but it will be what you make it,’ “ he said.
The Summitts exited the court to cheers and cries of “We love you Pat!” Before the game, Summitt posed for pictures and signed autographs.
Marquette women’s coach Terri Mitchell, who made her coaching debut against Tennessee in 1996, a season in which Summitt won one of her eight national championships, said Summitt was key to the rise of women’s college basketball.
“She has meant everything to our game,” Mitchell said. “She paved the way for me to be sitting here to be a head coach, with her tenacity and her decision that women’s basketball is important.”
Said Toledo assistant coach Vicki Hall, “Pat is women’s college basketball. She truly is. She laid the groundwork and has been a person everyone strived to be like.” Published in The WCP 12.18.12