“Today, as many athletes and coaches mourn the death of legendary Coach Pat Summitt, who broke down barriers for women not only in basketball but in all sports, I am reminded of the impact Coach Summitt had on my life as a young athlete.

“I first met Coach Summit when her team, the Tennessee “Lady Vols”, came to my hometown of Cincinnati to play in the Communiplex Women's Sports Hall of Fame tournament started by my parents, Dr. Steven and the late Barbara Reece. Coach Summitt not only brought her team to play – and win, I might add – but she became a friend to my parents and engaged them in the Title IX movement. She later helped brin the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final to Cincinnati in 1997, when she led the “Lady Vols” to their fifth national title.   

“As I watched Coach Summitt and was coached by her at her nationally acclaimed basketball camp, I learned that leadership is not just winning on the court but also breaking down barriers off the court. I remember the tough meetings that she and my father held as they pushed together for gender equality in sports, both on and off the court – including greater gender equality among coaches, referees, scholarships and on-air talent. 

“I am a better person because a woman named Coach Pat Summitt changed the game!”

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