Pat Summitt told the Knoxville News Sentinel Monday that she has been diagnosed with early onset dementia — Alzheimer’s type.
    
Summitt said in a Tuesday statement that she still intends to coach the Lady Vols, although her condition may change roles for her and her staff, as “there will be some good days and some bad days.”
    
After unusual behavior, Summitt visited the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. in May, where they performed tests and gave her the unfortunate results.
   
 If I had to collectively sum up reactions from the University of Tennessee community, I’d only say, “Wow.”
    
At least, that’s how I’m feeling. I got a pit in my stomach when I heard the news. It came as a shock.
    
It’s not like Summitt is leaving, but hearing from the horse’s mouth that things may be changing is unsettling, because it’s probably the one thing Tennessee fans will never want to see changed.
   
 Summitt is the best coach that will ever coach women’s college hoops, one of the best basketball coaches in the country, and has been the epitome of consistency in her 37 years with the Lady Vols. She’s the only coach in the men’s or women’s game to reach 1,000 wins, and she has eight national championships with 18 Final Four appearances to her name.
    
With the coaching carousel at UT in the past few years in all sports, if she wasn’t before, it’s now safe to say Summitt is the face of Tennessee athletics.
    
What Summitt supporters have to keep in mind is that this is not a funeral in the slightest. If she is not treating it like one, no one else should.
    
“There’s not going to be any pity party,” she told the News Sentinel, “and I’ll make sure of that.”
    
Early onset dementia, like any form of Alzheimer’s, is degenerative. It is not really one of those diseases you beat. You more or less hold it off longer than usual.
   
 It is a scary diagnosis, to say the least. One might think that being one of the toughest coaches in the business, men’s or women’s, she might keep this news private, which is very understandable. Many public figures struggle with medical and personal issues for years without anyone knowing. It is very brave of them.
    
But in my mind, showing her hand and announcing the news to everyone is the bravest thing she could have done. And I am not sure anything less is expected of Summitt anymore.
    
She was brave in that she was so honest, so transparent. This has to be one of the most vulnerable points in her life, and she made a video announcement about it online for the whole world to see.
    
The woman has been a pioneer of women’s basketball, and women’s athletics in general, around the country. Girls and young women from all parts of America like the Lady Vols because of Summitt, wishing they were a foot taller so they could have a chance to play for her one day, even if they have no other interest in the university.
    
It is an extremely tough situation, only to get tougher down the road. But Pat Summitt is a tough individual.
    
All she wants to do is “move forward to the business at hand … coaching a great group of Lady Vols.”
    
Like I said, though, what else can we expect from Summitt?