9:53am

Fri April 20, 2012
Pres. Obama Calls Summitt "Inspiration"

Coach Summitt to Receive Medal of Freedom

WASHINGTON (AP/WMOT) — The White House says former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

President Barack Obama says Summitt is an "inspiration" as the coach who has won more games than anyone else in NCAA college basketball history and for her willingness to "speak so openly and courageously about her battle with Alzheimer's."

Summitt said in August that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia.  On Wednesday Summitt stepped down from the team’s head coach and was named “Coach Emeritus.” During a press conference yesterday, Summitt praised UT fans, fellow staff members, and the women she coached.

“For almost four decades, it has been a privilege to make an impact on the lives of 161 women who have worn the orange. I am so proud of them, the Lady Vols student athletes, and the honor to see them graduate and become successful young women.”

A Hall of Fame member, Summitt won eight national titles and nearly 1100 games during her coaching career at Tennessee.