Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pat Summitt's Alzheimer's diagnosis presents unique challenge for assistant DeMoss

There is a lot of uncertainty around Tennessee these days.

The coaches and players would be lying if they said otherwise.

"We are in uncharted waters here," assistant coach Mickie DeMoss said on Tuesday night, two nights before the sixth-ranked Lady Vols face No. 9 Kentucky in Memorial Coliseum.

There is no tattered parchment map to point out how one works with a head coach battling the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, as Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt is.

There is no Google map to chart exactly how a team wins a ninth national championship while relying heavily on its assistant coaches to do much of the day-to-day work.

"I don't know that in the history of sports a head coach has ever gone public with early stages of dementia," DeMoss said. "We are really learning as we're going."

But DeMoss, who was the head coach at Kentucky from 2003 until she stepped down in 2007, has charted some of these rough waters before.

She watched her own mother battle this same disease that now threatens to slowly chip away at one of college basketball's greatest minds.

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