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NACDA Announces Tennessee's Summitt Named Michael J. Cleary Merit of Honor Recipient

photo courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

April 26, 2012

CLEVELAND - The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced today that University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Head Coach Emeritus, Pat Summitt, will become just the ninth recipient of the Michael J. Cleary Merit of Honor Award in the Association's 47-year history. The award recognizes an individual whose superior integrity is displayed in tireless commitment to the highest ideals of athletics in general and intercollegiate athletics in particular.   

Summitt, who announced she was stepping down as head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vol basketball team on April 18, will be honored at the Association's Annual Convention in June during the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Luncheon on Tuesday, June 26 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas.      

"Our Association is honored to celebrate Coach Summitt's legacy at our Convention," stated NACDA President Dan Guerrero, director of athletics at UCLA.  "Her passion and commitment to the game of basketball, her players and the University of Tennessee is unmatched."

Summitt, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history (men or women), was at the helm of the Lady Vols basketball team for nearly four decades and guided the program to one of the nation's elite, recording 1,098 total victories and eight NCAA titles. Included in those victories are a combined 32 Southeastern Conference (SEC) tournament and regular season championships. Tennessee is the only school to appear in all 31 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournaments since the event's inception in 1982.

She had a 100 percent graduation rate for all Lady Vols who completed their eligibility at Tennessee. In addition, 12 players went on to become Olympians and she coached 21 Kodak All-Americans, while 82 Lady Vol players have earned All-SEC accolades on 217 occasions.

Summitt's high school gym, Cheatham County, bears her name, as do the courts at her alma mater, University of Tennessee Martin (the Pat Head Summitt Court), and the University of Tennessee (The Summitt). She is the lone person to have two basketball courts used by Division I basketball teams named in her honor. In addition, Tennessee Martin designated a street on campus "Pat Head Summitt Avenue," while UT Knoxville has also named a street on campus after her called "Pat Summitt Drive."



Summitt has received a plethora of coaching honors and has been recognized with notable awards over the course of her career. In October 2000, Summitt became just the fourth women's basketball coach to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

President Obama announced on April 19 that Summitt would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Medal of Freedom is the Nation's highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace or to cultural or other significant or private endeavors.

On August 22, 2011 Summitt announced she was diagnosed with early onset dementia `Alzheimer's Type." In November, Summitt announced the formation of her Foundation, the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund, with the proceeds going toward cutting-edge research for Alzheimer's.

In the 47 years of the Association, only eight people have been bestowed this honor - Mike Cleary, NACDA; Phil Knight, Nike; Myles Brand, NCAA; Tommy Lasorda, Los Angeles Dodgers; Ben Carnevale, College of William and Mary; Joe Crowley, University of Nevada; Bob Bronzan, San Jose State University; and Pete Rozelle, National Football League. 

About NACDA:  NACDA, now in its 47th year, is the professional and educational association for more than 6,500 college athletics administrators at more than 1,600 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. More than 2,200 athletics administrators annually attend the NACDA Convention. Additionally, NACDA administers 12 professional associations, including six for the separate business units that report directly to the athletics directors and two foundations.  For more information on NACDA, visit www.nacda.com.