A University of Tennessee Press book about legendary Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt’s last season continues to garner awards for its author, Maria Cornelius.
Choice magazine, which reviews new academic titles for librarians, selected “The Final Season: The Perseverance of Pat Summitt” as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2017. Choice’s editorial staff reviewed more than 5,300 titles during the past year before selecting its 500 top titles as the “best of the best” for the list.
“These outstanding works have been selected for their excellence in scholarship and presentation, the significance of their contribution to the field, and their value as an important —often the first—treatment of their subject,” Mark Cummings, Choice editor and publisher wrote in a letter announcing the award.
“The Final Season” chronicles Summitt’s last season as coach of the Lady Vols after revealing her diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in the summer of 2011. From interviewing players to support staff to Summitt’s closest friends, Cornelius presents readers with the end of a legendary coaching career, detailing from the perspective of a sports writer how Summitt’s diagnosis impacted her players, staff and fans.
Cornelius said she wrote the book, her first, because Summitt’s last season was so unprecedented that she knew it needed a permanent record of what happened.
“Since Pat Summitt’s death in 2016 and publication of the book three months later, it took on another purpose—keeping her legacy alive and the spotlight on Alzheimer’s disease and The Pat Summitt Foundation,” Cornelius said. “As a first-time book author, I am humbled by the award – especially from an academic organization—and appreciative of the recognition. I am also grateful to the University of Tennessee Press for believing in me and this book project.”
Scot Danforth, UT Press director, said while the publication arm of the University has won the Outstanding Academic Title award numerous times in its nearly 80-year history of printing books, this marks the first time that a “lively general-interest book” has earned it.
“This award extends Pat Summitt’s legacy and is a credit to Maria Cornelius’s deep research and narrative gifts,” he said.
The book also received the 2016 Foreword Indies GOLD winner for the Adult Nonfiction/Sports Category and was selected by Foreword as one of the top three books of the year across categories. Foreword Reviews magazine covers the independent book publishing industry.
UT Press began as a scholarly publisher in 1940 with part of its mission to “extend the university’s leadership by publishing worthy projects about the South.”