5 Life Lessons from Coach Pat Summitt (reprinted by permission from the Daily Coach)
A pioneer, motivator and champion, she provided our society with hope and taught us many life lessons in her inspiring 64 years.
This past Sunday marked the fourth anniversary of the death of Pat Summitt, who coached the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team for 38 years. It's easy to become fixated on statistics when assessing her legacy: 1,098 career wins, 16 Southeastern Conference (SEC) titles and 8 National Championships. But while Coach Summitt's numbers speak for themselves, her impact on humanity will never equate to a box score. A pioneer, motivator and champion, she provided our society with hope and taught us many life lessons in her inspiring 64 years.
To pay homage to Coach, here are 5 lessons she taught us:
The Power of Vulnerability
When Coach Summitt was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease in 2011, she kept fighting in front of the public lens. She continued her coaching duties for the 2011–2012 season. Coach Summitt did not throw in the towel after the devastating news. Instead, she used the circumstances to educate, inspire, and empower others.
Your Work Ethic Impacts Your Life
Coach Summitt demonstrated that there is absolutely no substitute for hard work— that greatness required time, energy, discipline, focus, sacrifice, and commitment. She instilled in us that if something were truly important to someone, he or she would find a solution and not an excuse.
Challenge the Status Quo
When Coach arrived at Tennessee as head coach at the age of 22, the NCAA was eight years away from recognizing women's basketball as a sport. Through Coach Summitt's grit and passion, she challenged the male-dominated sports arena to take a closer look at itself. She mandated that opportunities be created that advocated inclusivity to women competing at a high level and capitalizing on athletics. Her pioneering vision transcended the game of basketball on the court, in business and beyond.
Develop Positive Relationships
Coach understood the power of creating authentic and genuine relationships. She was not just a basketball coach. She was a nurturer who strived to bring each person's greatest potential to the forefront and felt that “you win in life with people.” For Coach Summitt, it was more than just about the game of basketball and the wins. It was about the game of life.
Don't Give Up
Coach Summitt taught us as we climb up our own summit of life, we will ultimately be faced with obstacles and detours. She reminded us that the beautiful part of the journey is not to descend back down the mountaintop out of fear but to continue to trust the process and timing of our lives.
Through her coaching and living, Pat Summitt led by example, doing the right thing on and off the court. She taught us that we are the captains of our lives and always have the opportunity to move forward regardless of our trials and tribulations. Pat Summitt was a positive difference maker and a change agent. While she is longer with us in the physical, her legacy, teachings, courage, humility, grace, competitive spirit, and love for life and the game of basketball forever live on.