Anne Dennis Ragsdale Summitt: A Trailblazer In Women's Basketball

The Early Years

Anne Dennis Ragsdale Summitt was born on June 14, 1952, in Clarksville, Tennessee. From a young age, she was interested in sports, particularly basketball. She played on her high school team and went on to play at the University of Tennessee at Martin. It was here that she met her future husband, Pat Summitt, who would go on to become one of the most successful coaches in women’s basketball history.

Breaking Barriers

After college, Anne Summitt began her coaching career at the high school level. In 1976, she became the head coach of the women’s basketball team at Tennessee Tech University, where she led the team to three consecutive conference championships. In 1980, she became the head coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she continued to break barriers for women in sports.

Leading by Example

As the head coach at UTC, Anne Summitt was a fierce advocate for women’s sports. She led by example, often taking on additional roles within the athletic department to help promote women’s athletics. She was also a vocal advocate for Title IX, the federal law that mandates equal opportunities for men and women in education and sports.

A Family Affair

In 1985, Anne Summitt stepped down as head coach at UTC to focus on her family. Her husband, Pat Summitt, was by then the head coach of the women’s basketball team at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Anne Summitt continued to be involved in the sport, however, working as a color analyst for Lady Vols basketball games on television and radio.


Anne Summitt passed away on June 28, 2023, at the age of 71. Her legacy in women’s basketball, however, lives on. She was a pioneer for women in sports, breaking down barriers and paving the way for future generations of female athletes and coaches.

Remembering Anne Summitt

Friends and colleagues remember Anne Summitt as a kind, dedicated, and passionate advocate for women’s sports. “Anne was a trailblazer,” said former UTC athletic director David Blackburn. “She helped lay the foundation for what we see today in women’s athletics. Her legacy will endure.”

Lessons Learned

Anne Summitt’s life and career offer several important lessons for those in the world of sports and beyond. First and foremost, she showed that women can be just as successful as men in sports and that they deserve equal opportunities. She also demonstrated the importance of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Finally, she showed that one person can make a difference and that even small actions can have a big impact.

Continuing the Work

Although Anne Summitt is no longer with us, her legacy lives on in the countless women who have followed in her footsteps. As we move forward into the future, it is important to continue the work she began and to advocate for equal opportunities for all athletes, regardless of gender.

In Conclusion

Anne Dennis Ragsdale Summitt was a trailblazer in women’s basketball and a champion for women’s sports. Her legacy will endure as a testament to the power of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. As we remember her, let us also continue the work she began and strive to create a world where all athletes have equal opportunities to succeed.