NEW YORK — Tennessee coach Pat Summitt has been named the recipient of the 2009 WNBA Inspiring Coach Award for her impact on female athletes and her demonstrated commitment, passion and dedication to work, family and community. A special presentation of the award will be held at a later date during the 2009 WNBA season.
The WNBA introduced the Inspiring Coach Award in 2007 to honor coaches who have positively influenced athletes across numerous levels and whose achievements leave an indelible mark on sports as a whole.
“We are absolutely thrilled to honor Pat Summitt for all of her professional accomplishments,” WNBA President Donna Orender said. “On the court, she is an extraordinary coach who has won eight NCAA Championships and now holds the all-time record for most wins in NCAA history. But what is more important is that she leads with her heart and soul. Her commitment and dedication to the development of women’s sports and her passion for inspiring young athletes to achieve their dreams has been a source of inspiration to us all.”
The all-time winningest basketball coach in NCAA men’s and women’s basketball history, Summitt holds a career record of1005-193 and has amassed numerous honors during her 35-tenure coaching the Tennessee Lady Vols. She became the first coach in NCAA college basketball, man or woman, to reach 1,000 wins on Feb. 5 with a 73-43 triumph over Georgia. The victory came 12,445 days after Summitt’s first win on Jan. 10, 1975 over Middle Tennessee State.
Under Summitt’s leadership, the Tennessee Lady Vols have established a legacy as one of the top women’s college basketball programs in the country by virtue of leading the program to eight NCAA Championships, 28 NCAA Tournament appearances and 27 combined Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament titles. The Lady Vols hold multiple NCAA Tournament records, including most games (124), most wins (104) and most appearances (28).
During her tenure, her Lady Vols teams have produced 12 Olympians, 19 Kodak All-Americans on 33 teams, 10 first-round WNBA Draft selections and 30 WNBA players. Summitt has been similarly impressive off the court. Over her career, she boasts a 100-percent graduation rate for all players who finished their eligibility at Tennessee.
Summitt’s accomplishments have garnered a multitude of honors including seven NCAA and SEC Coach of the Year awards and the Naismith Coach of the Century award in 2000. Both the University of Tennessee and University of Tennessee at Martin, her alma mater, have renamed their courts to commemorate Summitt’s career.