The USA women’s Olympic basketball team was coached by Pat Summit (prior Head)….who was unquestionably the best women’s basketball coach ever….that is until Coach Gino Auriemma showed up at the University of Connecticut in 1985…..for as of 2016, Coach Gino has 11 Women’s NCAA Titles on his resume…..and still going strong having won four in a row through 2016….but until Gino, there was no question who was the best ever….it was Pat Summit.
Patricia Sue Summitt (born June 14, 1952) is a former women’s college basketball head coach…who now serves as the head coach emeritus of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team. She coached from 1974 to 2012, all with the Lady Vols….winning eight NCAA championships (an NCAA women’s record when she retired)….being surpassed only by the 10 titles won by UCLA coach John Wooden….and the 11 titles won by UConn coach Geno Auriemma. She was the first NCAA coach….and one of four college coaches overall in NCAA basketball….to achieve at least 1,000 wins (she achieved 1,098). She has the most wins of any female basketball coach in NCAA or NAIA history…which too should be passed by Coach Gino in 3+/- years.
Summitt was named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century in April 2000. In 2009, the Sporting News placed her at number 11 on its list of the 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time in all sports….being the only woman on the list. In 38 years as a coach, she never had a losing season. In 2012, Pat Summitt was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. She received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2012 ESPY Awards.
Summitt has written three books, all with co-author Sally Jenkins….Reach for the Summitt, which is part a motivational book and part biography….Raise the Roof about the Lady Vols’ 1997–1998 undefeated and NCAA-championship winning season….and Sum It Up, covering her life including her experience being diagnosed and living with Alzheimer’s disease…so I feel safe in saying that this 1984 Los Angeles Olympics team…..probably ranks pretty high on her list of best teams she has ever coached.