An Unpleasant Orange Crush

When I came back from a vacation, getting the following news felt like a kick to the stomach.

Pat Summitt has disclosed a diagnosis of early onset dementia.

Doug’s Place Flashback: As noted earlier, my father taught Air Force ROTC at the University of Tennessee. His office was at the Stokely Athletic Center — one floor above the basketball court and the offices of the coaches. (Read: This was well before the days of Thompson–Boling Arena.)

Thanks in part to that relatively close proximity from office to office, the Morris family got to know a then very young Pat Head. How young, you ask? In her first few seasons, the age difference between the head coach (unintended pun, I promise) and any of her players was minimal at best.

Her turnaround from humble beginnings to legendary status is truly a remarkable story. The record from there speaks for itself: More than 1000 victories at UT, eight NCAA titles, an Olympic Gold medal in 1984 as coach and Silver in 1976 as a player (yes, while still Lady Vols coach).

All the while, none of us had any reason to bet against Coach Summitt. Even with this stunning news, we’re not betting against her now.

Coach, keep the faith. We’re thinking of and praying for you.

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