Leadership Lessons from Pat Summitt


“She could have coached any team, any sport, men’s or women’s. It wouldn’t have mattered, because Pat could flat-out coach. I will miss her dearly, and I am honored to call her my friend.” – Peyton Manning

As a native Tennessean and a proud member of Vol Nation, I was deeply saddened by the recent passing of legendary Coach Pat Summitt. Her passing due to Alzheimer’s at the age of 64 was a great loss and it’s hard to put into words how deeply she will be missed.

There is no doubt Pat Summitt made her mark on the game of women’s basketball. For almost 40 years as the head coach she led the Lady Vols to 8 national championships, 31 consecutive NCAA tournaments, and amassed along the way a record of 1,098 wins.

I had the honor of meeting Pat Summitt a few times and she was always gracious and a class act. Her leadership on and off the court was truly inspiring. Her legacy will live on in her players and in the coaches who served alongside of her and through the work of her foundation.

I’d like to share with you a few of my favorite Pat Summitt quotes for your consideration and how they might be a source of inspiration for you.

“It’s harder to stay on top than it is to make the climb. Continue to seek now goals.”

“Success is a project that’s always under construction.”

“Here’s how I am going to beat you. I’m going to outwork you. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.”

“There is always someone better than you. Whatever it is that you for a living, chances are, you will run into a situation in which you are not as talented as the person next to you. That’s when being a competitor can make a difference in your fortunes.”

“Teamwork is what makes common people capable of achieving uncommon results.”

“You can’t always be the most talented person in the room. But you can be the most competitive.”

“If you don’t want responsibility, don’t sit in the big chair. To be successful, you must accept full responsibility.”

“I’m someone who will push you beyond all reasonable limits. Someone who will ask you not to just fulfill your potential but to exceed it. Someone who will expect more from you than you may believe you are capable of.”

“When a player makes a mistake, you always want to put them back in quickly — you don’t just berate them and sit them down with no chance of redemption.”

“Quit? Quit? We keep score in life because it matters. It counts. Too many people opt out and never discover their own abilities, because they fear failure. They don’t understand commitment. When you learn to keep fighting in the face of potential failure, it gives you a larger skill set to do what you want to do.”

When reading her quotes you get a glimpse into what made her not only a great coach but a great mentor, friend, and inspiration to so many.

In honor or her legacy I’d like to encourage my readers who are so inclined in joining me in making a donation to The Pat Summitt Foundation. The foundation works in partnership with the University of Tennessee Medical Center for research in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. Visit the website at: http://www.patsummitt.org/


© 2016 Doug Dickerson





About dougdickerson

I am Certified Leadership Trainer, author, columnist, and speaker. Husband to Alicia, father to Katelyn and Kara, and "Pop" to terrific grandson Tyson. I am an avid photographer, love the outdoors, and like to travel. I'm passionate about sharing my leadership insights and helping people reach their full potential.
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