Jun 29, 2016 10:19 AM EDT

Coach Pat Summitt: Obama Says Legend Was Role Model For Daughters, Sports Career Idol

By Jane Reed

It is a terrible thing for a team to lose a mentor. Legendary college basketball coach Pat Summitt died this week after battling Alzheimer's.

It was an emotional turn of events of United States President Barack Obama. He told USA Today that Pat Summitt was a role model for his own daughters.

Pat Summitt was a former Tennessee basketball head coach. Summitt was recognized in basketball history as the one who uplifted the women's sports game from obscurity to national recognition during her sports career in Tennessee.

It was a sad day in sports history when it was learned that she passed away this Tuesday morning at 64 years old. Obama remembered fond memories of Summitt. Pat Summitt championed for women's equality in the field of sports.

"Nobody walked off a college basketball court victorious more times than Tennessee's Pat Summitt," Obama announced according to a written statement released by the White House Press Office. "For four decades, she outworked her rivals, made winning an attitude, loved her players like family, and became a role model to millions of Americans, including our two daughters."

She had been battling Alzheimer's disease for the past few years. Although she lost that battle, sh did win national championships and never had a losing season in the University of Tennessee's women's basketball team. To add to that accomplishment, off-court, the school garnered a 100% graduation rate among her basketball players. These are the same players who completed their athletic eligibility.

Obama stressed that her legacy moves on in the future generations of men and women who found confidence and competitiveness from Pat's values.

"Pat learned early on that everyone should be treated the same. When she would play basketball against her older brothers in the family barn, they didn't treat her any differently and certainly didn't go easy on her," said the President.

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