Tennessee coach Pat Summitt yells to her team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009 in Knoxville, Tenn. Summitt is going for 1,000th career coaching victory. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Her footprint on the sport of women's college basketball is unmatched, but with Pat Summitt's battle against dementia, Thursday's matchup between Kentucky and Tennessee may be the last time the legendary coach visits Lexington after 38 years with the Vols.
"With coach Summitt's couragous fight against alzheimers and dementia", said Kentucky's Matthew Mitchell, "I've been impressed but not surprised that she's wanted to keep the focus on the players."
It can be hard to dismiss the impact that Summitt has had on the coaching career of Matthew Mitchell. He got his start in college basketball as a graduate assistant under Summitt at Tennessee during the 1999-2000 season.
"Just my exposure to her and how she did things developed and shaped me as an early coach," said Mitchell. "I wouldn't be here if she hadn't given me that entry into college baskketball."
Kentucky fans have Summitt to thank for that.
"You know it's hard to ever explains it to anybody", said Mitchell. "You know Matthew Mitchell wouldn't be sitting here today if it hand't been for the chance Pat Summitt gave me."