Nobody questioned Pat Summitt when she opted to step down from her post at Tennessee earlier this year. Why would they? The decision made sense. She had just been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and it was understandable that she would want to call it quits in her own way, on her own timetable.
The problem is, however, she might not have been the one who made that decision. According to a signed affidavit from a former Tennessee media director’s lawsuit, Summitt may have been forced out because of her developing condition.
Via the affidavit (by way of Yahoo! Sports):
"Dave Hart indicated to me that I would not be coaching the Lady Vol Basketball Team in the next school year (2012-13) and he planned to name Holly Warlick as the head coach," Summitt wrote.
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"Dave Hart told me I would still have an office in Thompson-Boling Arena and my title could be Head Coach Emeritus. This was very surprising to me and very hurtful as that was a decision I would have liked to make on my own at the end of the season after consulting with my family, doctors, colleagues and friends and not to be told this by Mr. Hart. I felt this was wrong."
The same Yahoo! Sports report notes that Summitt later met with Hart, and that he apparently told her that she had misinterpreted what he said. Make of that what you will.
It is sort of shocking how little attention this matter is getting. Summitt the greatest women’s basketball coach of all time. She has done more for the sport of basketball than about 99.9 percent of the people who have ever brushed up against it. Her getting pressured out of her position because of a health condition, if it happened, is a big deal.
Stay tuned – it’ll be interesting to see where this story goes from here.
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(Kudos Yahoo! Sports)