Hundreds showed up to witness the unveiling of a bronze statue of legendary coach, Pat Head Summitt, and the much-awaited dedication of the Pat Head Summitt Legacy Plaza.
Coach Summitt led University of Tennessee women's basketball teams to eight national titles during her tenure. She racked up 1,098 wins and changed the face of women's sports along the way. Sadly, Summitt lost her battle with Alzheimer's in 2016.
Richard Stevens and a committee of local friends and fans of coach Summitt began the Legacy Plaza project about four years ago.
“We started working on this when I was still Editor/General Manager at The Leaf-Chronicle. The newspaper has a long tradition of supporting public art projects in the community,” Stevens said.
“Jimmy Settle suggested the idea. He sat with Hazel and Richard Head (Pat's parents) during one of the championship games and wrote a story about that night. He got to know the family well over the years. Once the words came out of Jimmy's mouth, I thought, that's a great idea, we have to do this.”
“This community really came together to honor coach Summitt,” said Stevens. “People all across the community really stepped up to make this possible. Local banks, the Conventionand Visitors Bureau, and members of the UT Alumni Association were chief among them.
“Pat was a cultural icon. She was a pure feminist without wearing it on her sleeve. She changed the world of women's sports. She will be remembered for a long time, and we have a responsibility to honor her in her hometown and celebrate her legacy.”