Tennessee released a video statement Tuesday afternoon from women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt.
It had little to do with basketball.
Summitt announced for the first time publicly that she was diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, in the summer after visiting the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
But she is not ready to give up coaching after 37 seasons with the Lady Vols.
“I plan to continue to be your coach,” Summitt said to her “Tennessee families” in the video statement. “Obviously, I realize I may have some limitations with this condition since there will be some good days and some bad days.
“For that reason, I will be relying on my outstanding coaching staff like never before. We have always collaborated on every facet of Lady Vol basketball, and now you will see Holly Warlick, Dean Lockwood and Mickie DeMoss taking on more responsibility as their duties will change significantly.”
The 59-year-old Hall of Fame coach has amassed an NCAA-record 1,071 career wins, eight national championships and 15 SEC titles. The court in Thompson-Boling Arena is also named in her honor.
“It takes amazing courage for Pat to come forward and discuss her health with her players, our fans and the entire country, but that’s who she is,” UTK Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said in a statement. “Pat Summitt stands for courage and integrity. We will stand behind her and support her in every way possible. We look forward to her continued leadership as the Lady Vols head coach and I know that even through this adversity she will be an inspiration to all of us.”
Interim Athletic Director Joan Cronan echoed Cheek’s comments in her statement.
“Pat Summitt is our head coach and she will continue to be,” Cronan said. “She is an icon not only for women’s basketball but for all of women’s athletics. For Pat to stand up and share her health news is just a continuing example of her courage. Life is an unknown and none of us have a crystal ball. But I do have a record of knowing what Pat Summitt stands for: excellence, strength, honesty and courage.”
Summitt’s son, Tyler, is a walk-on on UT’s men’s basketball team.
“Pat Summitt is not only my mom, but also an incredible role model and mentor for me,” Tyler said. “It seems like she teaches me something new every day, and she is currently giving me one of the best life lessons of all: to have the courage to be open, honest and face the truth.
“This will be a new chapter for my mom and I, and we will continue to work as a team like we always have done. We both appreciate the continued support of the Lady Vol family. Our faith is in the Lord and we trust that God has a plan for us. Looking forward, nobody is as ready for the 2011-2012 basketball season to start as much as the Summitt family. God Bless.”
 Summitt ended her statement expressing her appreciation for the support she has received.
“I love being your coach and the privilege to go to work every day with our outstanding Lady Vol basketball student-athletes. I appreciate the complete support of UT Chancellor Dr. Jimmy Cheek and UT Athletics Director Joan Cronan to continue coaching at the University of Tennessee as long as the good Lord is willing.
“I’ve been honest and shared my health concerns with you, and now we’ll move forward to the business at hand ... coaching a great group of Lady Vols. For the time being, I hope you will respect my privacy regarding this matter.”