KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Pat Summitt, women’s basketball head coach emeritus at the University of Tennessee, has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Global ATHENA Leadership Award, ATHENA International founder Martha Mertz announced Thursday during a private reception at Pratt Pavilion.
To date, the Global Award has been presented to only 28 elite women. Summitt joins such notables as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; Patricia Schroeder, former 12-term U.S. Congresswoman; Lynn Martin, former U.S. Secretary of Labor; Kay Koplovitz, founder of USA Networks and the first woman network president in television history, and Frances Hesselbein, editor-in-chief of Leader to Leader and, like Summitt, a Presidential Medal of Freedom winner.
For more than 30 years, ATHENA International has recognized, celebrated and advanced women’s leadership in the United States and across the world. Over 6,400 exemplary leaders in more than 500 communities and in seven countries have been recognized with the ATHENA Leadership Award for professional excellence, service to their community and active assistance to women in realizing their full leadership potential.
The prestigious Global ATHENA Leadership Award is presented to women of international stature who have achieved a high degree of professional excellence as well as given service to their community, provided active assistance to women realizing their full leadership potential, and created, via their body of work, a positive national or international impact for women.
Summitt is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history (men or women) with 1,098 career wins. In her 38 seasons at Tennessee, she won 32 combined SEC regular-season and tournament titles and led her teams to eight NCAA Championships. Under her leadership, Tennessee has made an unprecedented 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament and produced 12 Olympians, 20 Kodak All-Americans named to 34 teams, and 77 All-SEC performers.
With her program maintaining a 100 percent graduation rate, Summitt has been an educator, role model and mentor to her student-athletes, and she has commented many times that she coached for “the love of the game.” She has inspired her pupils to achieve on and off the court. Her former players are in many professions, including coaching, with more than 70 former Lady Vols pursuing that career on the professional, collegiate or high school level.
Summitt not only played on a U.S. Olympic Team (1976), she coached the 1977 U.S. Junior National Team to two gold medals, led the 1983 U.S. World Championship Team to a silver medal and directed the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team to a gold medal. She has been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Sports Foundation Hall of Fame, and received the Naismith Coach of the Century Award in 2000. She has been honored with numerous awards, including most recently the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.
Among her numerous honors, she received the 2011 Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award, the 2011 Maggie Dixon Courage Award and was named by Sports Illustrated as the 2011 “Sportswoman of the Year.” The Huffington Post honored Summitt with its “Game Changer Award” for being “an innovator, leader, and role model who is changing the way we look at the world and live in it”. U.S. News & World Report recognized Summitt as one of “America’s Best Leaders for 2007,” and she was inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.
Summitt has logged an incredible number of hours supporting non-profit and charitable organizations, and she has given hundreds of speeches across the state and country. In 2011 she established the Pat Summitt Foundation to support cutting-edge research related to Alzheimer’s disease. Pat Summitt exemplifies the ideal of ATHENA. She is courageous and strong, the champion of enlightenment, the bearer of wisdom, harmony and beauty to all.
The Global ATHENA Leadership Award is facilitated by the Tennessee Economic Council Foundation and the East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Summit, and it is sponsored by First Tennessee.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- At a venue hosting youngsters engaged in the physical rigors of this week’s Lady Vol Basketball Camp, Tennessee Head Coach Emeritus Pat Summitt was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award Thursday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN).
PCFSN Executive Director Shellie Pfohl, who was appointed to her post in Feb. 2010 by President Barack Obama, made the trip to UT to personally recognize Summitt on the court that bears the hall of fame coach’s name. Summitt, who was unable to attend the awards ceremony at the organization’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on May 1, took time out from basketball camp Thursday to accept the award on her birthday.
One of five individuals chosen in honor of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, Summitt received the Lifetime Achievement Award based upon her contributions to the advancement and promotion of physical activity, fitness, sports, and nutrition-related programs nationwide. Recipients are selected by members of the PCFSN based on the span and scope of an individual’s career, the estimated number of lives they have touched and the impact of his or her legacy.
“We are honored to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Coach Summitt for her unparalleled contributions to collegiate athletics as the most victorious coach in NCAA history, and a prolific advocate for equal access and opportunities for girls and women in sports,” said Pfohl. “Coach Summitt is the embodiment of passion, brilliance and class, and she has left an indelible mark on the physical activity landscape for aspiring athletes and coaches across America.”
Summitt won more games than any other coach in NCAA basketball history, earning eight national titles and 1,098 victories during her 38-year career as head coach at Tennessee. She also directed a program that won a combined 32 Southeastern Conference tournament and regular season championships, made an unprecedented 31-consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament and produced 12 Olympians, 20 Kodak All-Americans named to 34 teams, and 77 All-SEC performers.
The other 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include founder of Aerobic Dancing, Jacki Sorensen; FITNESSGRAM® founder Dr. Charles Sterling; SPARK co-founder, Dr. Thomas McKenzie; and Dr. Linn Goldberg, the Chief of the Division of Health Promotion & Sports Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University.
2012 PCFSN Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients
Linn Goldberg, M.D. - Dr. Goldberg is Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Health Promotion & Sports Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. His groundbreaking programs for young athletes (ATLAS for boys and ATHENA for girls) utilize exercise and nutrition alternatives to prevent the use of alcohol, performance enhancing and illicit drugs.
Thomas McKenzie, Ph.D. - Dr. McKenzie is Emeritus professor in the San Diego State University School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences. Dr. McKenzie has authored or co-authored over 170 publications and co-founded SPARK -- a nationally recognized research-based public health organization dedicated to improve health through physical activity. In March 2012, he was awarded a Hall of Fame Award from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.
Jacki Sorensen - Sorensen is the originator of Aerobic Dancing -- the complete fitness program that combines health and toning benefits of jogging with the fun of dancing. Sorensen is the President and founder of Jacki’s Inc.
Charles Sterling, Ed.D. - Sterling is Chairman of Youth Initiatives at The Cooper Institute and Chairman of the FITNESSGRAM Board of Trustees. Dr. Sterling is best known professionally as the founder of the widely-used FITNESSGRAM®, a health-related testing and feedback system for youth.
Pat Summitt - Summitt is Hall of Fame University of Tennessee Head Women’s Basketball Coach Emeritus. Summitt has won more games than anyone else in NCAA basketball history, winning eight national titles and 1,098 games at Tennessee.
About the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition: The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition educates, engages, and empowers all Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition. PCFSN is a committee of volunteer citizens who advise the President through the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Through its partnerships with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, PCFSN promotes programs and initiatives that motivate people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to lead active, healthy lifestyles. For more information about the Council, visit www.fitness.gov.