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Summitt: It has been a 'great ride' at Tennessee

By Teresa M. Walker

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, April 19 2012 1:05 p.m. MDT

Yet Summitt's every move was studied to see how she felt, down to how many officials she yelled at or her icy glares at a player while overseeing a Division I program with a busy national travel schedule. After losing to eventual national champ Baylor in a regional final, Warlick's tears during the postgame news conference gave a glimpse of how exhausting the season had been and the possibility it was Summitt's last game.

"It has been a privilege to make an impact on the lives of 161 women who have worn orange," Summitt said. "I am so proud of them the Lady Vols student athletes and the honor to see them graduate and become successful young women."

Now Summitt can focus on her health and taking on duties that will keep her with the program she guided to eight national titles since taking over in 1974.

Summitt's new role will include helping with recruiting, watching practice, joining staff meetings, helping coaches analyze practice and games, and advising the Southeastern Conference on women's basketball issues and mentoring players. Summitt also will be working as a spokeswoman in the fight against Alzheimer's.

Summitt's final record stands at 1,098-208, 16 regular-season Southeastern Conference championships and 16 SEC tournament titles — the last won a month ago. During her time, Tennessee never failed to reach the NCAA tournament, never received a seed lower than No. 5 and reached 18 Final Fours. Those Final Fours tie the UCLA and North Carolina men for the most all-time by a college basketball program, and she never had a season with a losing record.

"Pat started coaching at a young age and no one will ever pass her on anything that she has done," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "There may be coaches that have more national championships but there will never be anyone who has meant so much to women's basketball. Pat now moves to the next chapter of her life."

Every Lady Vol player who has completed her eligibility at Tennessee graduated under Summitt, and 74 former players, assistants, graduate assistants, team managers and directors of basketball operations are currently among the coaching ranks at every level of basketball.

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