Local sports community reacts to passing of legendary coach Pat Summitt

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — All her life, Sydnei Archie had dreamed of one day playing for legendary University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt.

“Seeing her and being so intense. It was a little intimidating, but I felt like that’s the position that I wanted to be in, to learn from her,” said Archie, who trained under coach Summitt.

Summitt died early Tuesday morning after five years of battling early onset dementia, but her legacy would be history in the making, inspiring many like VCU women’s head coach Beth O’Boyle.

“She definitely was the coach that I admired and wanted to be like,” O’Boyle said. “And just the impact that she had on women’s basketball, I grew up being a Tennessee fan because that’s what it was. You know women’s basketball was Tennessee and Pat Summit.”

At just 22-years-old, Summitt became Tennessee’s head coach at just 22 years old. She would go on to lead the Lady Vols to many victories and become the all-time winningest coach in Division I history.

Archie, now poised to play for VCU next year, hopes Summitt’s on-court intensity has made her a better player.

“I was a little terrified, but at the same time she was such a sweet person off the court, but on the court, she was all business,” Archie recalled of her training sessions with Summitt.

Through her passion and determination, Summit would forever impact women’s sports, not only in basketball but across the board.

“I walk in here every day and I know that the opportunity that I have to coach and the opportunity that our players have on scholarship,” O’Boyle said. “It’s because of the battles that Coach Summit fought in the early days so that women could really get the same experience as the men.”Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.

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