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When legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt announced she was stepping down yesterday, it was a giant loss for college basketball regardless of circumstance – Summitt’s one of the greatest coaches ever in any sport. But as you probably know, these weren’t normal circumstances: Summitt’s battling early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. And the combination of her impact on the sport and the way she was forced to stop coaching it meant the news of her stepping down hit especially hard – and not just in the college game. This was Celtics coach Doc Rivers after his team’s 102-98 win over the Magic Wednesday:
By Rivers’ own account, he only knew Summitt “a little bit,” so to see him get that emotional over the news that her coaching career is prematurely over – and of course, the tough ongoing battle against Alzheimer’s she faces – was powerful, and highlights what kind of towering figure Summitt really is. Her career ended earlier than anyone thought it would, but she’s leaving one hell of a legacy behind. (And, as Summitt would probably point out, since she’s moving to the head coach emeritus position, she’s not entirely going away.)
[h/t Arash Markazi]
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