Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) introduced legislation Thursday to award sports legend Pat Summitt the Congressional Gold Medal, which the U.S. Congress describes as “its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.”
The measure would bestow the Congressional Gold Medal to Pat Summitt in recognition of her remarkable career as an unparalleled figure in sports, and for her courage in speaking out openly and courageously about her battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
The entire Tennessee Congressional House delegation joined as original co-sponsors of the bill.
Coach Summitt is the winningest coach in basketball history with 1,098 victories. Her teams have won 16 Southeastern Conference Championships and eight national championships, and she has coached in 18 Final Fours and has an 84-percentage winning record as a head coach.
“To me, her most impressive statistic is a 100-percent graduation rate, and she did not allow her players to take easy courses,” Duncan said. “She made them prepare for life after basketball, and almost all her players have been successful after leaving the University of Tennessee.”
“On top of all this, she has never had a question raised about her recruiting or any NCAA violation. She has shown through the years that you do not have to cheat in sports to win and be very successful,” Duncan continued.
Coach Summitt is a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and was NCAA Coach of the Year an unprecedented seven times. In 2000, she was named the Naismith Coach of the Year.
As the Nation knows, Coach Summitt retired from 38 years of coaching in 2012 after being diagnosed with early onset dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.
Coach Summitt and her son Tyler established the Pat Summitt Foundation to help lead the fight against the disease.
Recently, she received the Sargent and Eunice Shriver Profiles in Dignity Award, which is the top award presented by the National Alzheimer’s Association.
“Pat Summitt is certainly the most admired and respected woman in Tennessee, sports, and this Nation. Her fans and influence reach far beyond the borders of Tennessee, and I cannot think of a finer or more deserving individual for this honor,” Duncan continued.
“She has been a great, great success because of her very hard work, dedication, determination, and discipline. This Nation is a better place today because of her work with young people and the inspiring example that she has set for all of us. Coach Pat Summitt is truly a great American, and I am proud to call her one of my constituents and one of my very, very close friends.”
All Congressional Gold Medal bills must be co-sponsored by at least two-thirds (290) of the Members of the House to be brought up for a vote.
More on the History of the Congressional Gold Medal can be found: HERE.
Text of Congressman Duncan’s Bill to award Pat Summitt the Congressional Gold Medal can be found: HERE.