Summitt Steps Aside, Warlick Named New Tennessee Coach - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Summitt Steps Aside, Warlick Named New Tennessee Coach

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Tennessee coach Pat Summitt and associate head coach Holly Warlick watch during the second half of an NCAA women's college basketball tournament regional final against Baylor, Monday, March 26, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo) Tennessee coach Pat Summitt and associate head coach Holly Warlick watch during the second half of an NCAA women's college basketball tournament regional final against Baylor, Monday, March 26, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Pat Summitt is stepping aside as Tennessee's women's basketball coach and taking the title of "head coach emeritus" with long-time assistant Holly Warlick being promoted to replace the sport's winningest coach.

Tennessee released a statement Wednesday announcing the move.

Summitt will report to the athletic director and help the women's program she guided to eight national titles. The 59-year-old Summitt said in a statement she loved being head coach but recognizes the time has come to step into a new role. She said she supports Warlick as her replacement and wants to ensure the stability of the program.

"If anyone asks, you can find me observing practice or in my office," Summitt said in a release from the university. "Coaching is the great passion of my life, and the job to me has always been an opportunity to work with our student-athletes and help them discover what they want. I will continue to make them my passion. I love our players and my fellow coaches, and that's not going to change."

The move comes less than a year after her diagnosis with early onset dementia-Alzheimer's type.

Warlick has been Summitt's assistant for 27 seasons and was a three-time All-American with the Lady Vols.

Summitt coached the program for 38 seasons and amassed 1,098 victories.

During Summit's tenure, the Lady Vols won the SEC Championship and SEC Tournament title 16 times each, and Summitt was named SEC Coach of the Year eight times and NCAA Coach of the Year in seven seasons.

Summitt's 18 trips to the Final Four is the most all-time among coaches, and her eight national titles trails only the 10 won by former UCLA coach John Wooden in Division I college basketball.

A press conference to discuss the changes with Summitt, Warlick, and other UT officials will be held Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at "The Summitt" at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Governor Bill Haslam released this statement about Summitt's move: 

"This is a day when all Tennesseans should recognize the wonderful gift that Pat has given the state. She has produced champions on and off the court, and she has brought great recognition to Tennessee. While we are sad to see Pat retire, we will always be grateful for everything she has done for the state and the University of Tennessee. I also want to congratulate Holly for her new role in leading Lady Vols basketball. As she steps into this historic role, she brings her own commitment and tradition of winning, and we look forward to watching her lead the Lady Vols next year."

(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)

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