Peyton provides big gift to Summitt
Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013 7:00 pm
By The Associated Press
Former University of Tennessee football great Peyton Manning added a touching personal note when he signed a giant ceremonial check Thursday for The Pat Summitt Foundation.
“To Pat,” he wrote. “Together we will win.”
The four-time NFL MVP and current Denver Broncos quarterback’s $500,000 gift, made with his wife, Ashley, is the largest to date for the foundation.
He presented the gift to the Lady Vols coach emeritus and her son, Tyler, who co-founded the organization immediately after Summitt told the public in 2011 she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.
“It’s not really my style to make (people) aware when you’re giving, but I think giving does encourage more giving,” Manning said after the presentation at Cherokee Country Club. “We thought that it might be possible, in this case, for more people to understand this foundation, that it’s up and running and that Pat’s out in front of it.”
About 25 people, including former UT head football coach Phil Fulmer and the foundation’s chair Jim Haslam, gathered in a small room at the club.
Summitt, who spoke only briefly to the small crowd, expressed her appreciation.
Haslam introduced both Manning and Summitt with gracious remarks, calling them both “icons of Tennessee,” pointing out that Summitt won more than 1,000 games as the Lady Vols’ head basketball coach and Manning has won more than 500 as a college and professional quarterback.
“But they’re both people who are dedicated to helping other people,” he said.
Manning is an honorary co-chair of the foundation’s advisory board along with former Lady Vols point guard and WNBA all-star Kara Lawson. Manning said he regularly keeps up with Summitt through conversations with her, her friends and current Lady Vols head coach Holly Warlick.
Manning has often referred to Summitt as a mentor who helped him decide whether to return for his senior year at UT.
“Pat’s got great toughness. That’s one of the things she’s always instilled in all of her players. You have to be tough, you have to have a great work ethic,” Manning said. “Obviously I never played for her, but I truly feel like we’re on the same team, on the Tennessee Volunteer team.
“She’s always supported me, and I wanted to do what I could to support her,” he said.
Published in The Messenger 4.12.13