Pat Summitt Plaza, statue unveiled on UT campus

Pat Summitt Plaza, statue unveiled on UT campus

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The Pat Summitt statue was unveiled Friday. The Pat Summitt statue was unveiled Friday.
"Today is not about me. It's about everyone out here that loves the University of Tennessee," said Coach Summitt. "Today is not about me. It's about everyone out here that loves the University of Tennessee," said Coach Summitt.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The University of Tennessee dedicated the new Pat Summitt Plaza and Statue Friday morning.

The nine-foot-tall, 500 pound statue, created by internationally-known artist and sculptor David Adickes of Houston, Tex., arrived in Knoxville earlier this week covered in a tarp.

The plaza is located on the corner of Lake Loudoun Boulevard and Philip Fulmer Way.

Approximately 550 donors have stepped forward to provide financial support for the project.

Several people spoke at the dedication including Summit herself and her son Tyler.

"Today is not about me. It's about everyone out here that loves the University of Tennessee. And we just hope and pray that we can continue to do good things. Tyler has been a rock for me, and I appreciate him. And for that I just want everybody to know how much I appreciate what's happened here today. I think I'll never forget it," said Summitt.

Former Lady Vols athletics director Joan Cronan talked about the impact Summitt has had, not only in women's sports, but in the field of Alzheimer's research since her 2011 diagnosis.

"What she has done these last three years battling this disease has taught us so much. She is a woman of courage and has done it with such class," said Cronan.

Former player Tamika Catchings told the audience about the lessons that come with having Summitt as a coach.

"For all of us, we learned what it takes to be a leader, a great woman, a great lady, what it takes to have character, what it takes to have poise," Catchings said.

Despite the dreary weather, a big crowd turned out for the ceremony.

"To be able to come down and watch something like this evolve, and to see her achieve some of these things, I'm just lucky to be able to be here today," said fan Kathy Bull from Walland.

Senior Lady Vol Meighan Simmons got emotional over the tribute.

"It's a blessing to come back here and support her. This day was about her so I'm just really excited," Simmons said.

For junior Cierra Burdick, it was a chance to give back to the coach who has given so much to her.

"To say I played for Pat and continue to carry this legacy that she's built, all these Lady Vols who have come to support Pat on her special day, it's just a great thing to see and witness," said Burdick.

Summitt posted a 1,098-208 record and won eight national titles in 38 seasons as Tennessee's coach. She stepped down in April 2012 after announcing a year earlier that she had early-onset dementia, Alzheimer's type. Summitt remains on Tennessee's coaching staff as head coach emeritus.

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