Although she is revered as one of the winningest coaches in all of basketball, her story is bigger than that. Pat Summitt was known for instilling great virtues in all her players. To her, life was about winning on and off the court.
Many people don’t know that the values and integrity she exhibited on the court were first developed on the farm. Pat grew up on a tobacco and dairy farm in Clarksville, Tennessee where she was one of five children. She developed her driven nature working alongside her siblings and her father, doing chores on the family farm.
“I can fix a tractor, mow hay, plow a field, chop tobacco, fire a barn and call the cows” she once said. “But what I’m really known for is winning.”
-Pat SummittShe took the lessons she learned on the farm to the court, teaching her players to not only be great basketball players, but leaders in society, too. Her student athletes had a 100% graduation rate and 45 former players went on to be coaches themselves. She was known for demanding excellence on the floor but cultivated one of a kind friendships with her players beyond basketball. She took a selfless approach to coaching, often saying it wasn’t about her but rather what she could do to help grow her student athletes.
It’s evident that Summitt earned the respect of those around her by her outstanding character. Summitt’s upbringing on the farm is where it all began and led to the instillation of upstanding morals and unbreakable character in her players. As agriculturists raising families, we have the opportunity to raise great kids in our own fields. Similarly to how she graduated a new crop of young women into the world each year, the next generation of farmers is the best crop you will ever raise.