Pat Summitt made official today what was reported on Wednesday. After 38 years and 1098 victories as head coach at the University of Tennesee, Summitt stepped down from her post.
In a heartfelt speech that had the right amount of humor and emotion, Summitt did not want to make this a moment of sadness. Instead, she took time to reflect on what she has done with the program, sport and how much it has meant to her.
It was unusual to see Summitt in a vulnerable moment, just because she is so intense and passionate on the sidelines and we have seen her that way for so many years.
She did address her new role as head coach emeritus with the University of Tennessee, saying that she would always be there to support the players in whatever way she could.
She added that her top priority in the new job was to be around young people—players and coaches alike. "I love these young people, and they keep me young," Summitt said.
Despite not being the head coach anymore, Summitt will still be very much involved with the program. She said that she wanted to continue being involved, which is how this job title came about.
Perhaps the best and most emotional moment of the entire press conference came right as Summitt was done with her speech, when she called new head coach Holly Warlick over and handed her the whistle that she was wearing around her neck.
Here is what Summit said when she was asked about when she made the decision to step aside as head coach:
"It's never a good time, but you have to find a time that is the right time. And that is now."
So it is. There will never be another one like her, but women's athletics, not just basketball, are far better off because of Pat Summitt.