Pat Summitt, son launch foundation

Updated: November 27, 2011, 6:56 PM ET
Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee coach Pat Summitt and her son, Tyler, have formed a foundation that will fund grants in support of Alzheimer's programs.

The pair announced the creation of The Pat Summitt Foundation at halftime of the Lady Volunteers' 76-67 loss to No. 1 Baylor on Sunday. They're accepting tax-deductible donations for the foundation at www.patsummitt.org.

The Hall of Fame coach announced in August that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type but pledged to continue coaching and show others that they can live their lives with the disease.

The foundation will offer grants to nonprofit organizations that research Alzheimer's, offer treatment to those with the disease or education about it.

"Tyler and I have decided to join this battle, not just for us, but also for the millions of families affected by this disease. I have always told our players, our greatest opportunities are disguised as our greatest obstacles. It is time to treat this obstacle as an opportunity and a stepping stone to a cure," Summitt said in a videotaped statement shown at halftime.

Former Lady Vols director of basketball operations Danielle Donehew will administrate the fund. Donehew currently is the Big East associate commissioner for women's basketball.

Donehew said she talked with Geno Auriemma, coach of rival Connecticut, before deciding to take on the job of the foundation's administrator. Auriemma not only gave his blessing but also made the first donation to the fund, she said.

The Tennessee athletic department has also been raising money through sales of "We Back Pat" T-shirts for Alzheimer's programs chosen by Summitt. The department presented two $75,000 checks to Alzheimer's Tennessee and the UT Medical Center during Sunday's game.

As part of the "We Back Pat" game, players from both Tennessee and Baylor wore purple "We Back Pat" shirts while warming up.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press