Commentary

Pat Summitt leaves incredible legacy

Updated: April 18, 2012, 5:44 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

I was sorry to hear that Pat Summitt was retiring as Tennessee women's basketball head coach.

My friends, she was the best of the best in college basketball, men's or women's. In fact, she was one of the greatest coaches of any sport.

I have great respect for her. There was a love affair down in Knoxville as Thompson Boling Arena was a sea of orange and white when the Lady Vols took the court.

[+] EnlargePat Summitt
AP Photo/Mark HumphreyPat Summitt won 1,098 games and eight titles in her 38 seasons.

Think about the incredible numbers she put up. Summitt won 1,098 games, well over 100 more than Mike Krzyzewski has as the men's all-time leader in Division I. She won eight national championships and made an incredible 18 Final Fours. In an amazing 31 NCAA tournament appearances, she won a record 112 games. Her overall win percentage was .840, and only John Wooden won more championships (10) among men's or women's coaches.

Every time we called a game at Tennessee and she was there, it was truly special. I loved listening to her talk about college basketball. She was a flat-out amazing leader. Summitt was class personified, and she handled the difficult situation of early-onset dementia last season.

I remember when we honored her at the Dickie V gala a few years ago, along with Bob Knight. She was so easy to deal with and so admired by everyone in attendance.

She was loved by her players, and she had so many great ones over the years, from Tamika Catchings to Candace Parker to Michelle Marciniak to Kara Lawson and on and on.

I wish Pat Summitt all the best in the future. The sport of college basketball will miss an icon on the sideline.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.