Will Shelton over at Rocky Top Talk has the sad news that Tennessee womens basketball coach Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with a form of early onset dementia, but will coach the Lady Vols at least for this season.
As Will notes, an official University announcement with additional details should be forthcoming soon. For now, two thoughts come to mind. First, I can say without a doubt that the broad genus of neurological disorders (Alzheimer's being the most commonly known) which cause early dementia are among the most cruel of human maladies. There are few things harder than watching someone you love become someone who does not even recognize you, and who cannot take care of themselves in even the smallest ways. It's especially cruel when it affects someone with the keen edge of a Pat Summitt.
Second, for all the times I've watched Summitt's squads lap Andy Landers' Lady Dawgs on the basketball court I've always had an immense respect for Coach Summitt. When you talk about building a college sports dynasty, you're talking about doing what she's done in Knoxville. And while known for a gruff exterior, she has gained respect from her coaching colleagues and rival fans alike. Not everyone can do that.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Coach Summitt, her family and the Vol Nation.