April 19th, 2012
03:16 PM ET
Calling her an "inspiration" President Barack Obama Thursday announced former University of Tennesee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. The honor comes just a day after Summitt announced she would step down as coach to Tennesee's Lady Vols and eight months after revealing her diagnosis with early-onset Alzheimer's.
Coach Summitt took her Lady Vols to eight national championships and 1,098 wins–the most in major-college basketball history.
The Presidential Medal of freedom is presented to individuals "who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors," according to a White House statement.
Coach Summitt's work off the basketball court, on behalf of Alzheimer's patients through the Pat Summitt Foundation, was also recognized in Thursday's White House announcement.
Other recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom will be announced in the coming weeks according to the White House. A ceremony honoring them will take place sometime later this year at the White House.