Jennings lawsuit: Pat Summitt initially felt forced out

The cat is out of the bag:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pat Summitt said in an affidavit that she initially felt she was being forced to step down as the Lady Vols’ basketball coach by Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart, who later told Summitt that she had misinterpreted his comments.

The signed affidavit was part of a lawsuit filed against the University of Tennessee by former Lady Vols media director Debby Jennings. In it, Summitt said Hart told her at a March 14 meeting prior to the NCAA tournament that she would have to step down at the end of the season. Summitt had revealed before the season that she was battling early-onset dementia.

“This was very surprising to me and very hurtful, as that was a decision I would have liked to have made on my own at the end of the season after consulting with my doctors, colleagues and friends and not be told this by Mr. Hart,” Summitt said in the affidavit. “I felt this was wrong.”

Summitt went on to say in the affidavit that Hart later told her that she had misinterpreted what he had said. The affidavit is included in an amended complaint filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Jennings’ lawsuit alleges that age and sex discrimination led to her forced retirement from the school where she had worked for 35 years.

Tennessee officials had no immediate response to the amended complaint. Summitt’s son, Tyler Summitt, wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press Wednesday that, “We are not going to comment right now on this matter.”

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  1. It's pretty clear that Summitt decided entirely on her own to go public with her medical condition. Once she did so it wasn't a matter of if she was retiring, it was when.

    It was the responsibility of both Hart and Summitt to work together to put a transition plan in place that protected the UT Brand and WBB Program.

    None of us know what happened during the conversation between Hart and Summitt. It's too bad that Jenning's lawsuit had to drag it all up. Unfortunately we are all now assured that Summitt won't go gracefully into the night.

    The only thing that is certain is that once attorneys get involved it always gets ugly.

  2. No doubt. I agree that the truth should be told it just hasn't been my experience that when litigation is involved the truth comes out the way honest people expect it to. There is a reason that most politicians start out as lawyers…they can twist facts until they are unrecognizable.

    Hopefully the real facts will see the light of day. I'm betting that this ends up getting settled out of court with the agreement between Jennings and UT sealed. Can't imaging them letting it go to trial.

    Painful and ugly, that's for sure.

  3. i do believe at the end the decision to retire come from pat herself. the problem is why this douche bag dave hart have to mention it up while ncaa tournament was still on. if i was pat, i would felt force out too, clearly its not a misunderstanding and NO ONE in tennessee have the right to force pat summitt to do anything against her will.