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August 23, 2011

Notebook: Saban extends sympathies for Summitt

TUSCALOOSA | With the news that legendary University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with early onset dementia, University of Alabama coach Nick Saban offered best wishes to Summitt and her family.

The two aren't strangers.

"I do know Pat Summitt," Saban said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for her as a person and as a coach, who's probably achieved as much as anyone in our profession. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. I hope that she can continue to affect young people and live a normal healthy life for many years to come."

Summitt, 59, has won eight national championships and 1,071 games in a storied career at UT, and plans to coach her 38th season this year.

"There's not going to be any pity party and I'll make sure of that," Summitt told The Knoxville News-Sentinel.

According to medterms.com, dementia is defined as a significant loss of intellectual abilities such as memory capacity, severe enough to interfere with social or occupational functioning. Criteria for the diagnosis includes impairment of attention, orientation, memory, judgment, language, motor and spatial skills, and function.

"Certainly she has made a mark in our profession that few will be able to match or challenge, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for the way her players always compete and respond to her and have a tremendous amount of loyalty to her," Saban said.

Carter situation unresolved
Junior college transfer wide receiver Duron Carter is still awaiting academic clearance, and although fall classes begin Wednesday, Saban indicated the former Ohio State Buckeye still has a chance to join the team. Another freshman receiver, Danny Woodson Jr., did not participate in fall camp but could either join the team before the season begins or defer enrollment to January.

"I haven't heard anything from compliance (Tuesday)," Saban said. "We do have a few more days to be able to get this done, and we'll make some kind of decision on Danny Woodson probably in the next week or so. The first day of school is not the drop-dead date for when somebody can start school. We're weighing several options and several circumstances and situations."

Quotable
"He's improved a lot. I feel like we have four corners that I view all as starters. I don't know which ones will end up playing most. ... Dee Milliner and Phelon are battling it out for who plays the other corner." - Saban on senior cornerback Phelon Jones.

Tidebits
Junior cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick returned to practice Tuesday after missing Saturday's scrimmage with a leg contusion. ... Nose guard Brandon Ivory and offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio, both recovering from minor knee injuries that prevented them from scrimmaging over the weekend, also returned to practice. ... Redshirt freshman Blake Sims continued to work at running back during individual drills Tuesday.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase.goodbread@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0196.


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