Brennan: Why we owe Pat Summitt a thank you

Legendary basketball coach Pat Summitt lost her battle with dementia “Alzheimer’s Type” at the age of 64. She made NCAA history with eight national championships and a 1,098-208 record.

Every girl and every woman who plays sports, and there are millions of them in this country, owes Pat Summitt one thing today:

A thank you.

Well before Title IX was taken seriously, well before there were record ratings for women’s sports on TV, well before there was the dominance of the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team or the sold-out crowds at the NCAA Women’s Final Four or the glorious rivalry of Tennessee-UConn, there was Pat Summitt.

As a young head coach earning $250 a month in the mid-1970s, Summitt personally loaded her players’ uniforms into a washing machine after each game because she knew if she didn’t do it, no one else would. She also drove the Tennessee team van from game to game; money was so tight that one night, she and her players slept in sleeping bags on the other team’s gym floor.

They did this willingly, even happily. They didn’t know what they didn’t…

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