Throughout the SEC, and especially at UT, Pat Summitt is in everyone's thoughts.
The SEC announced that for the second year they have organized a "We Back Pat" Week to bring awareness and recognition to the Pat Summitt Foundation, which was established by Summitt in November 2011, and its fight against Alzheimer's disease.
"I am honored and humbled that the Southeastern Conference schools continue to support the work of the Pat Summit Foundation's fight against Alzheimer's," Summitt, head coach emeritus, said. "The 'We Back Pat' Week not only brings public attention to our cause, but it also helps raise funds that will be awarded by our foundation in the form of grants to organizations who battle this disease every day."
Summitt also thanked the SEC and its member institutions for joining her efforts in trying to find a cure.
"I want to thank the SEC and its member institutions who have agreed to participate," Summit said. "It means so much to Tyler and me that you joined us in our efforts. Together we will win."
Throughout the week, SEC schools will offer support at their women's basketball home games (17 games in 14 cities) by increasing awareness of the foundation and its mission, as well as having the players wear "We Back Pat" T-shirts during warm-ups.
Sophomore point guard Ariel Massengale said that most of the women on the team are here because of Summitt, so it's an honor to give back to her.
"I feel like every time, being Tennessee, we step on the court we are playing for our coach," Massengale said. "She laid the foundation for us and it's part of the reason why a lot of us are here now. She's done so many great things for women's college basketball and just to be able to give back to her is a great honor and opportunity and I don't think she should just have a 'We Back Pat' Week, I think we should dedicate our whole season to her and all that she has done for us."
SEC teams and players aren't the only ones that can help the foundation's cause during this week. The foundation offers the sale of "We Back Pat" T-shirts, "Fierce Courage" wristbands and other items, as well as a new feature this year that allows supporters to donate $10 by texting the word "COACH" to the number 50555.
The Lady Vols will finish off "We Back Pat" Week with a matchup against the Alabama Crimson Tide at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena.