Following Boston's division-clinching victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night, Celtics coach Doc Rivers ended his postgame press conference by paying tribute to Pat Summitt who resigned as the Tennessee women's basketball coach earlier that day. Rivers couldn't get through his remarks about his colleague without shedding a few tears.
Rivers paused for a moment after bringing up the winningest coach at collegiate level to regain his composure and then spoke about what Summitt meant to him and to the coaching profession.
"I didn't want to get emotional. I'm an emotional person. And when you see a giant like that leave the game.. and leave the game because of health, it's just sad," he said of Summitt. "But she is responsible for women's basketball. She's not just a women's basketball coach, she's a great coach."
Summitt revealed last summer that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Despite the diagnosis, she remained on the sideline for her 38th season and led the Lady Volunteers to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women's Tournament. Rivers noted how upsetting it is to see Summitt stop coaching at age 59.
"And I'm in this and the long I'm in this I realize how much coaching means to all of us," he said. "You think about it today is retiring at her age and Larry Brown is taking a job at his age and it just tells you how much it's in your blood and how much you love it. For her not to be able to do it, to me is very sad."
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