Joan Cronan named first winner of NCAA’s Pat Summitt Award

NASHVILLE (WATE) – Former Tennessee women’s athletic director Joan Cronan accepted the first ever NCAA Pat Summitt Award Thursday night.

The Pat Summitt Award was created this year and annually recognizes an individual who positively influences college athletes and their experiences.

“It was absolutely a career highlight. Because it came from the NCAA,” said Cronan.

“It’s something I have spent my whole career working with and it was named in honor of Pat and to receive that was just very special.”

Cronan will also receive a $10,000 honorarium to donate to the organization of her choice, which ended up being the Pat Summitt Foundation.

“It took me two seconds to decide where the money needed to go,” said Cronan.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a release Wednesday Cronan had an “exemplary career” and “fostered opportunities for countless young women to succeed in sport and in life.”

“I got in the business because women were not getting opportunities,” said Cronan.

“To see now that the opportunities are there gives me goose bumps.”

Cronan was the Tennessee women’s athletic director from 1983-2012.

The NCAA’s Pat Summitt Award is the second highest honor from the organization.

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