The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is presented to individuals whose contributions transcend sports.
Pat Summitt not only has done that during her coaching career, but she displayed amazing courage in coaching the Lady Vols during the 2011-12 season despite being diagnosed last August with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.
After Manning set the stage by sharing about the influence that Summitt has had on so many, Tennessee-raised actress Reese Witherspoon narrated a poignant video tribute that traced the footprints of Summitt's impactful life and how she has been an example to others through dealing with the challenge that has come her way.
Following a lengthy standing ovation from the star-studded audience, Manning presented the Ashe Award to Summitt. She was joined on stage by son Tyler, a former Vol basketball player and now an assistant women's basketball coach at Marquette University.
"I've always said, you win in life with people," Summitt said as she addressed the crowd. "And I have been so blessed to have great people in my life. My son, Tyler, and I appreciate all of your support.
"It is time to fight, and I ask all of you to join together with me, so we will win. I can tell you, tonight I am deeply touched as all of you heard my story. I'm going to keep on keeping on, I promise you that."
The all-time winningest coach in NCAA men's or women's basketball with 1,098 victories, Summitt stepped away from head coaching duties in April after 38 seasons. She led the Lady Vols to eight national championships, 18 NCAA Final Fours and a combined 32 SEC regular season and tournament titles during that time before handing over her whistle to long-time assistant and former Lady Vol All-American Holly Warlick.
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