Henry remembers legendary coach Summitt

Henry remembers legendary coach Summitt

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Throughout her office at Darton State, athletic director Lea Henry has reminders of the coach that meant so much to her.

"When I think of who has influenced me the most, you think of your parents, you think of your grandparents," she says. "And I think of Pat."

Legendary Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt died Tuesday after a long battle with dementia. For former players like Henry, it's been a tough day.

"You always remember her as a fighter," Henry says.

Henry spent six seasons with Summitt: four as a player and two as a grad assistant. In 1984, Henry won a gold medal with the Summitt-coached U.S. Olympic Team.

Tuesday has been filled with memories and tributes to Summit. Like many sports fans, Henry has noticed the outpouring of respect for the winningest coach in college basketball history.

"Pat's biggest philosophy was you win with people," she says. "Even though she had so much success, she never changed."

Summitt had as much success as any coach in any sport. Her 1098 wins are the most of any college basketball coach, men's or women's. She led the Lady Vols to eight national titles, and 16 SEC Tournament championships. Three of those SEC titles were won at the Albany Civic Center.

Summitt's legacy is much more than just numbers though. Her impact on not just women's basketball, but women's sports as a whole.

"Pat is the one person that made the biggest difference for women's athletics," Henry says. "She just opened the door for so many young women, and showed that it was okay to be competitive and tough and go after big goals."

In an office full of mementos of Summitt and Henry's time together, the former Darton State coach says the pictures are just reminders. Summitt's legacy lives within the people she encountered.

"Pat's inside of me," Henry says. "It's how I think. The person that I am is a big reflection of her."

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