Summitt To Be Honored at White House Tuesday

By: Matt Harris Email
By: Matt Harris Email
Tennessee Head Coach Emeritus Pat Summitt will be given the Medal of Freedom at the White House Tuesday.

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt yells to her team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009 in Knoxville, Tenn. Summitt is going for 1,000th career coaching victory. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

On Tuesday, Tennessee Head Coach Emeritus Pat Summitt will be a guest at the White House, where President Barack Obama will award her a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

According to a release from the Office of the Press Secretary at the White House, the Medal of Freedom is our Nation's highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. The Medals will be presented at the White House in an afternoon ceremony.

At the time of her selection, President Obama said, "Coach Summitt is an inspiration - both as the all-time winningest NCAA coach, and as someone who is willing to speak so openly and courageously about her battle with Alzheimer's. Pat's gift has always been her ability to push those around her to new heights, and over the last 38 years, her unique approach has resulted in both unparalleled success on the court and unrivaled loyalty from those who know her and those whose lives she has touched. Pat's coaching career may be over, but I'm confident that her work is far from finished. I look forward to awarding her this honor."

Summitt will be one of 13 individuals honored on Tuesday. The others are Madeleine Albright, John Doar, Bob Dylan, William Foege, John Glenn, Gordon Hirabayashi, Dolores Huerta, Jan Karski, Juliette Gordon Low, Toni Morrison, Shimon Peres and John Paul Stevens.

In her tenure at the helm of the Lady Vols, Summitt produced a remarkable record of 1,098-208 (.840) that includes the most victories in NCAA basketball history. During her tenure, the Lady Vols won eight NCAA titles as well as an amazing 32 Southeastern Conference tournament and regular season championships. Tennessee made an unprecedented 31-consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament and produced 12 Olympians, 20 Kodak All-Americans named to 34 teams, and 77 All-SEC performers. Along with the success on the court, Summitt's student-athletes had tremendous productivity in the classroom, with her program maintaining a 100 percent graduation rate for all Lady Vols who have completed their eligibility at Tennessee.

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