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Summitt at first believed she was being forced out by Vols

Published Oct. 4, 2012

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pat Summitt said in an affidavit that she initially felt she was being forced to step down as the women's 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 by former Vols media director Debby Jennings. In it, Summitt said Hart told her before 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.

Jennings' lawsuit alleges that age and sex discrimination led to her forced retirement at 57 from the school where she had worked for 35 years.

Tennessee officials had no immediate response. Summitt's son, Tyler, wrote in an e-mail to the Associated Press that, "We are not going to comment right now on this matter."

Since announcing her retirement, Summitt has not indicated that she is unhappy about how her coaching career ended.

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