Terry Morrow: Pat Summitt reflects on life with 'Good Morning America'

Ex-Lady Vols head coach Pat Summitt and “Good Morning America” personality Robin Roberts talk about days gone by.

Photo by Jon Lemay, ©2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Ex-Lady Vols head coach Pat Summitt and “Good Morning America” personality Robin Roberts talk about days gone by.

In a rare moment away from her stalwart image, former Lady Vols head coach Pat Summitt broke down Tuesday when recalling her decision last year to end her career.

“It was hard (because) I didn’t want to (do it),” she said, choking up as she managed to express her feelings over the decision to “Good Morning America” in a pre-recorded piece. “But I felt like I needed to.”

The scene will be included in a documentary on Summitt for ESPN’s film series “9 x 9,” profiling major sports figures and their rise to glory.

Summitt left the head coaching position at UT after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She now has the title of head coach emeritus. She drives to the Lady Vols practice every day and attends every home game.

“GMA” personality Robin Roberts visited Knoxville a few weeks ago with Summitt, whose new book “Sum It Up” came out this week. Roberts’ interview with Summitt — whom she considers one of her mentors — was conducted at Summitt’s home in Knoxville.

Asked what she misses most about being head coach, Summitt said, “Just being on the court.”

Summitt admitted she has had moments when she asked herself why this is happening to her.

“It may not be the best thing,” she said, “but you’ve got to make it what it is and keep living your life.”

‘Idol’ update

Get your cell phones charged up for the sake of Oliver Springs singer Janelle Arthur on “American Idol” (8 p.m. today, WTNZ, Channel 43).

Beginning with this installment, viewers can cast their votes for their favorite singers. Arthur is among the top 20 semi-finalists. The 20 will be whittled to 12, who will vie for the show’s title.

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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