The following was an email from Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. It is reprinted in its entirely.
I want to share with you a letter from our Lady Vols basketball coach, Pat Summitt. It takes amazing courage for Pat to come forward and discuss her health with her players, our fans, and the entire country, but that’s who she is. Pat Summitt stands for courage and integrity. We will stand behind her and support her in every way possible. We look forward to her continued leadership as the Lady Vols head coach. I know that even through this adversity, she will be an inspiration to all of us.
Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek firstname.lastname@example.org
Throughout my career, I have always made it a point that my life and my basketball program were an open book.
With that in mind, I have something I’d like to share with my Tennessee families—the university, boosters and fans of Lady Vol basketball.
Once last season concluded, I addressed some ongoing concerns regarding my health. After consulting with my local physicians, I decided to visit the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Earlier this summer, the doctors at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed me with early onset dementia (“Alzheimer’s Type”) at the age of 59.
I plan to continue to be your coach. Obviously, I realize I may have some limitations with this condition since there will be some good days and some bad days.
For that reason I will be relying on my outstanding coaching staff like never before. We have always collaborated on every facet of Lady Vol Basketball; and now you will see Holly Warlick, Dean Lockwood and Mickie DeMoss taking on more responsibility as their duties will change significantly.
I love being your coach, and the privilege to go to work every day with our outstanding Lady Vol basketball student-athletes. I appreciate the complete support of UT Chancellor Dr. Jimmy Cheek and UT Athletics Director Joan Cronan to continue coaching at the University of Tennessee as long as the good Lord is willing.
I’ve been honest and shared my health concerns with you and now we’ll move forward to the business at hand…coaching a great group of Lady Vols. For the time being, I hope you will respect my privacy regarding this matter.
Go Lady Vols!
August 23, 2011