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Felisha Legette-Jack reflects on legacy of Pat Summitt, family battle with Alzheimer's

Posted at 10:30 PM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-28 22:31:30-04

Pat Summitt passed away at the age of 64 on Tuesday, following her battle with Alzheimer’s early-onset dementia.

It's a disease that hits close to home for University at Buffalo Women's Head Coach Felisha Legette-Jack, whose mom is battling the illness as well.

Coach Jack calls Alzheimer's a thankless disease, one that affects everyone.

While Coach Summitt brought awareness to the disease, it's tough to watch a loved one battle the illness.

"My mom was a strong woman, just like Pat. Raised five children and never compromised her person and to see her memory elapse on a daily basis, it's a challenge, one that I hope we bring attention to,” Jack said. 

“Don't let Pat die in vain. Understand she was an amazing basketball coach but recognize what took her away and let's fight it and let's win."

Several years ago, while a coach for Team USA, Jack met the Hall of Fame coach for the first time.

“We sat there for an hour,” she said.  “She acted like we were best friends.  That’s what kind of relationships that she had with anyone she interacted with. She treated everybody with respect. I just hope one day I hope that I can honor her.”

“The one thing she said was ‘be yourself,’” Jack continued.  “Be all of you. If you’re going keep a job or lose a job, never compromise who you are.”

Summitt won 16 conference titles and eight national championships at Tennessee before stepping down in 2012.

The Bulls won their first Mid-American Conference Championship in March, and received their title rings on Tuesday.