Tennessee’s senators are mourning the loss of one of the state’s most treasured daughters: legendary basketball coach Pat Summitt.
Summitt died Tuesday at the age of 64 after battling Alzheimer’s disease. She was the winningest coach in college basketball history with 1,098 victories and a pioneer in women’s athletics as coach for the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team for 38 years.
Both of the state’s Republican senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, took to the Senate floor Wednesday to pay tribute to the legendary coach and offer a resolution in her honor.
“Tennesseans are very, very proud of Pat Summitt. We know when the nation saw her, they might think a little better of us because she was one of us,” Alexander said.
Alexander called Summitt a “great friend.” He served as the president of the University of Tennessee when Summitt led the team to a championship in 1989.
“For Pat Summitt, this is a day to honor a woman of style, a woman of substance, a farm girl who grew up to be the winningest college coach in the country. And, who by her example and by her life, brought out the best in her players and set an example for the rest of us,” Alexander said.
Tennessee’s junior senator, Bob Corker, called Summitt one of the Volunteer State’s “own beloved daughters.”
“Perhaps no one who left a more indelible mark on his or her profession than Pat,” the Republican said.
Corker said the statistic Summitt was likely most proud of was the 161 “Lady Vols” she coached, all of whom graduated from college.
“That’s remarkable,” Corker said. “Every single player, 38 years. Think about that.”