Storied Basketball Coach Pat Summitt Steps Down

The most successful coach in college basketball history is stepping down. Pat Summitt has led the women's basketball team at the University of Tennessee for 38 seasons, racking up 1,098 wins. She's dealing with early-onset dementia and will take the new position of head coach emeritus.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. For college basketball, it is the end of an era. Today, Pat Summitt announced she's stepping down. For 38 seasons, Summitt has coached the Lady Vols of the University of Tennessee and she has chocked up 1,098 wins. That's the most for any coach, man or woman.

Less than a year ago, Summitt revealed that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia. NPR's Tom Goldman has the story.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: The official announcement is that Pat Summitt has been named head coach emeritus. She'll still work for the women's basketball program mentoring players. Longtime Lady Vols assistant Holly Warlick succeeds Summitt as head coach. Warlick took over the main coaching duties this season, which ended with the Lady Vols losing to eventual champion Baylor in the NCAA tournament.

Last month, before the tournament started, Summitt was still talking Xs and Os with reporters.

PAT SUMMITT: I think our man-to-man defense - you know, personally, I really like it versus the zone, but you know, we have been mixing it up.

GOLDMAN: Her role, though, had been reduced. In games, she rarely prowled the sidelines, flashing that well-known icy stare at officials. Still, Michelle Marciniak says today's news shook her to her core. Marciniak was Summitt's point guard on the 1996 Lady Vols national championship team.

MICHELLE MARCINIAK: I'm about as close to Pat as you possibly can be and I have known about all of this. I'm still sad, so it's hard to imagine that an era of a legend like Pat has come to a close.

GOLDMAN: In today's statement, Summitt calls coaching the great passion of her life. I love our players and my fellow coaches, she says, and that's not going to change.

Tom Goldman, NPR News.

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