STORRS, Conn. (WWLP) – University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball coach, Geno Auriemma, posted a heartfelt sentiment on the team’s Facebook page Tuesday, following the death of rival coach Pat Summitt.
“Coach Summitt defined greatness and set the bar for the rest of the sport,” he said. “Thank you for the greatest games, the fiercest rivalry, and for the inspiration for success. Rest in Peace, Coach.”
Under Summitt’s coaching, the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers won eight national championships. The winningest coach in Division I college basketball, Summitt played a key roll in lifting the women’s game to national prominence. Her son, Tyler Summitt, issued a statement Tuesday morning saying his mother died peacefully at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville, Tennessee. She battled early onset dementia since 2011, but coached one more season before stepping down.
After her retirement, Auriemma passed Summitt’s record with eleven NCAA Division I national championships. He has been the head coach of the USA Women’s National team since 2009, during which he received the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. He will again be coaching the team for the 2016 Summer Olympics.