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Arthur Ashe Courage Award

Throughout Pat Summitt’s 38 seasons as head basketball coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers, she agilely worked to maintain the team’s elite caliber and reform the perception of women’s basketball. Last August 23, Summitt announced that she was battling early onset dementia, “Alzheimer’s Type.” Less than a year later, she made a statement that she would step down as Tennessee’s women’s basketball’s coach.
Summitt will be honored by The 2012 ESPYS with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for her strength and bravery throughout her time at the University of Tennessee and as an opponent of her disease.
“I want to help ensure the stability of the program going forward,” she said. “I would like to emphasize that I fully intend to continue working as Head Coach Emeritus, mentoring and teaching life skills to our players, and I will continue my active role as a spokesperson in the fight against Alzheimer’s through the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund.”
Summitt retired as head coach with 1,098 wins, making her the all-time winningest coach among both men and women in NCAA basketball history. She led the Lady Volunteers to eight NCAA titles, 13 NCAA Final Fours and 32 Southeastern Conference tournaments and regular season championships. The athletic icon was inducted into the Women’s Sports Foundation’s International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and was named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century a decade later in 2010.
Summitt will be presented with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at The 2012 ESPYs in Los Angeles on July 11. The award is given to individuals whose contributions have positively impacted sports.
“I am humbled to receive an honor bearing Arthur Ashe’s name and to join an amazing group of recipients who have received the Ashe Award at the ESPYs,” Summitt said. “Besides being an incredible tennis player, I genuinely admired Arthur’s honesty, integrity and conviction in all areas of his life on and off the court. I will proudly accept this award.”