Pat Summitt is perhaps best known for winning more basketball games than any other NCAA Division I basketball coach, male or female.
The longtime Tennessee women’s basketball coach who died Tuesday morning at age 64, nearly five years after making public her diagnosis of early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.
To say there will never be anyone else like Summitt is not hyperbole. On the contrary, it seems inadequate. She won eight NCAA titles, made 31 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and went 1,098-208 in 38 seasons as coach at Tennessee. She was one of the most accomplished and influential figures in the history of women’s sports, but also was universally respected and beloved with a fierce competitive spirit and drive.
Here are some of Coach Pat Summitt’s quotes of inspiration:
On work ethic
“Here’s how I’m going to beat you. I’m going to outwork you. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.”
“If you don’t want responsibility, don’t sit in the big chair. To be successful, you must accept full responsibility.”
On goal setting
“It’s harder to stay on top than it is to make the climb. Continue to seek new goals.”
“Attitude is a choice. What you think you can do, whether positive or negative, confidence or scared, will most likely happen.”
“The absolute heart of loyalty is to value those people who tell you the truth, not just those people who tell you what you want to hear. In fact, you should value them most. Because they have paid you the compliment of leveling with you and assuming you can handle it.”
“Losing strengthens you. It reveals your weaknesses so you can fix them.”
“In the absence of feedback, people will fill in the blanks with a negative. They will assume you don’t care about them or don’t like them.”
“There is always someone better than you. Whatever it is that you do for a living, chances are, you will run into a situation in which you are not as talented as the person next to you. That’s when being a competitor can make a difference in your fortunes.”
“You can’t always be the strongest or most talented or most gifted person in the room, but you can be the most competitive.”
“Quit? Quit? We keep score in life because it matters. It counts. Too many people opt out and never discover their own abilities, because they fear failure. They don’t understand commitment. When you learn to keep fighting in the face of potential failure, it gives you a larger skill set to do what you want to do.”