Whether you love (or even know) basketball or not, I would suspect you have heard of this women – Pat Summit. You may not know that she was the winningest coach in NCAA D1 Basketball (Men and Women). Or that she had 1098 wins in her 38 year career. Or that 48 of her players went on to coach after playing for her. Or that all of her 4-yr players graduated from college. But you’ve likely heard her name as you grew up.
Pat Summit made an impact on women’s sports… and me.
What really matters is her impact. Not only with every athlete, but every girl. Not only in Tennessee, but in the nation. Not only in the nation, but in the world. She has changed the face of Women’s Basketball. Forever. I believe that she has changed the face of Women’s Sports. Forever.
She created winning teams. But it wasn’t only about winning on the court – it was about winning in life. She hung her hat on “Noone will outwork us”.
And they didn’t.
She said that “Attitude is a choice. What you think you can do, whether positive or negative, confident or scared, will most likely happen.” She led her teams with a foundational premise of “Teamwork is what makes common people capable of uncommon results.” And isn’t what we all want?
She helped each girl make her dreams come true. She knew her story, where she came from, her strife. She met her in the middle and helped her find her own strength. She stated that when we face weakness, we learn about how to find the strength within us.
Pat Summit: Unmatched Excellence
Her athletes said this about her: “You were our coach, our hero, our inspiration. You put education and character first. You led by example. Your legend will never be matched.”
She is a role model. A game changer. One to emulate every day whether you love basketball or not. This was about basketball in the beginning. She followed her heart, played the game and played it well. It wasn’t about basketball in the end but instead about her purpose, her mission in the time she had. Basketball just happened to be her way to get there.
What do you love and how can that come out in your work, your mission? What will your family, friends and community say about you when you’re gone? That, my friends, is your legacy.
Here are my favorites from Pat:
About Life: “It is what it is. But, it will be what you make it.”
Stepping Up: “If you don’t want responsibility, don’t sit in the big chair. To be successful, you must accept full responsibility.”
I want to sit in the big chair. Do you?