Pat Summitt has been nominated for a Congressional Gold Medal, one of the two highest honors for an American citizen.
U.S. Rep. John Duncan Jr., has introduced legislation to bestow the award on Summitt, His bill is cosponsored by the entire Tennessee Congressional delegation. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker are introducing the Senate companion to Duncan’s bill .
As coach of the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team, Summitt became the nation’s winningest basketball coach, with 1,098 victories and eight national championships. Her most impressive statistic is a 100-percent graduation rate. She made them prepare for life after basketball, and almost all her players have been successful after leaving (UT).
Congress has awarded the Gold Medal since 1776. George Washington was the first recipient. It can be awarded to leaders in a variety of fields including arts, athletics, diplomacy, medicine, military service, public service, science, space exploration and more. Congress describes the medal as its “highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.” The Gold Medal and medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom are considered the highest civilian honor in the United States.
Prior Gold Medal recipients include Walt Disney, Rosa Parks, Arnold Palmer, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Charles Shulz, Rev. Billy Graham, Colin Powell, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and John Wayne.