KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Pat Summitt has stepped down as head coach of the Lady Vols to become head coach emeritus, the University of Tennessee announced Wednesday.
Summitt was the head coach for 38 seasons (1974-2012) and had 1,098 victories at Tennessee. She is the all-time wins leader among college basketball coaches.
Before the 2011-12 season, Summitt announced that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia ("Alzheimer's Type").
Associate head coach Holly Warlick, an assistant at Tennessee for 27 seasons and a three-time All-American as a Lady Vol, will assume head coaching duties for the program.
In a statement released by UT Summitt says:
"I've loved being the head coach at Tennessee for 38 years, but I recognize that the time has come to move into the future and to step into a new role.
I support Holly Warlick being named the next head coach, and I want to help ensure the stability of the program going forward. I would like to emphasize that I fully intend to continue working as head coach emeritus, mentoring and teaching life skills to our players, and I will continue my active role as a spokesperson in the fight against Alzheimer's through the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund.
"If anyone asks, you can find me observing practice or in my office. Coaching is the great passion of my life, and the job to me has always been an opportunity to work with our student-athletes and help them discover what they want. I will continue to make them my passion. I love our players and my fellow coaches, and that's not going to change."
Summitt will report to Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart and will serve in a variety of endeavors, UT says.
She will continue to serve the women's basketball program and its coaching staff and as a liaison to director of athletics.
Summitt will remain involved in on-campus recruiting, and serve as a personal mentor to players, including life skills coaching.
"It is extremely difficult to adequately express what Pat Summitt has meant to the University of Tennessee, the sport of basketball, and the growth of women's athletics nationally," Hart said. "She is an icon who does not view herself in that light, and her legacy is well-defined and everlasting. Just like there will never be another John Wooden, there will never be another Pat Summitt. I look forward to continuing to work with her in her new role. She is an inspiration to everyone.
"I'm very thankful for all Pat Summitt has done to prepare me for this opportunity," Warlick said. "She is my coach, mentor, and great friend, and I am honored with the opportunity to continue and add to the great tradition of this program. I'd like to thank Dave Hart, Chancellor Cheek, and the university for having confidence in me to lead the Lady Vol program, and we will work as hard as we possibly can with the goal of hanging more banners in Thompson-Boling Arena."
Lady Vols accomplishments with Summitt
The Lady Vols won an unparalleled eight national championships under with Summitt at the helm (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, and 2008) and played in 13 national championship games.
Summitt's sixth national championship team, the 1997-98 team, finished a perfect 39-0.
Tennessee also won the SEC Championship and SEC Tournament title 16 times each.
Summitt was named SEC Coach of the Year eight times and NCAA Coach of the Year in seven seasons.
Under Summitt's leadership, Tennessee is the only school to appear in all 32 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournaments since its inception in 1982.
Tennessee has posted more NCAA Tournament victories (112) and has played in more tournament games (135) than any other college basketball program.
The Lady Vols have earned a No. 1 seed in the tournament 21 times, including nine consecutive from 1988-96.
The Tennessee program has also produced 12 Olympians, 21 State Farm All-Americans named to 36 different teams, including 2012 All-American Glory Johnson. Lady Vol players have also received All-SEC accolades on 120 occasions.
Pat Summitt was head coach of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Basketball team that captured the gold medal in Los Angeles.
On Oct. 13, 2000, she was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility.
During the 2011-12 season, Summitt was named Sports Illustrated Sportswoman of the Year, an honor she shared with SI Sportsman of the Year Mike Krzyzewski.
The NCAA also named Summitt this year's recipient of the 2012 NCAA President's Gerald R. Ford Award, which annually honors an individual who has provided significant leadership as an advocate for intercollegiate athletics over the course of their career.