Summitt diagnosed with early-onset dementia

Zach Gourley

Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt announced via video Tuesday that she has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, but plans to continue on as the Lady Volunteers’ coach.

ISU women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly addressed Summitt’s health Tuesday on the Murph ‘n Andy radio show on 1460 KXNO.

“Coach Summitt is certainly one of the most iconic sports figures in our country and certainly in our sport,” Fennelly said. “She’s someone that even the casual fan, or someone that doesn’t follow women’s basketball at all, recognizes her name. Our sport doesn’t have many people like that.”

Fennelly also addressed the possibility that opposing coaches may use this information when attempting to lure recruits away from Summitt and the Lady Vols basketball program.

“It’ll happen and anyone who does it should be embarrassed and shouldn’t be in the profession,” Fennelly said. “But it’s going to happen.”

Summitt said that at the conclusion of Tennessee’s 2011 campaign, she addressed some health concerns, which led her to visit the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. There, she would eventually receive the diagnosis.

This news comes as Summitt is preparing for her 38th season at the helm of the Lady Vols basketball program. She is currently college basketball’s winningest coach, with 1,071 victories and eight national championships to her name.

“I plan to continue to be your coach. Obviously, I realize I may have some limitations with this condition since there will be some good days and some bad days,” Summitt said in the video. “I love being your coach and the privilege to go to work every day with our outstanding Lady Vol basketball student athletes.”