Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, 67, surpasses Pat Summitt for most Division I women’s basketball wins with 1,099


What he lacked in suspense he made up for with its historical significance. Stanford’s 104-61 victory over the Pacific on Tuesday was the 1,099th in coach Tara VanDerveer’s career, earning her the most wins in Division I women’s college basketball history.

She then received the game ball and then received a new jacket with the nickname “T-Dawg” by her celebrating players.

“I have received so many messages from people. It was so exciting, ”said VanDerveer. “It was a great trip. I hope Pat Summitt looks down and says, “Good job, Tara. Keep going. “”

VanDerveer succeeded the late Summitt, whose legendary career in Tennessee ended prematurely in 2012 after being diagnosed with early dementia, Alzheimer’s type. Summitt, who scored 1,098 victories, died in 2016.

VanDerveer, 67, began her college coaching career in Idaho in 1978 and succeeded Stanford in 1985, where she scored 947 of her victories. She won two NCAA titles, qualified for 11 more Final Fours, won or shared 23 Pac-12 regular season titles, and won 13 of 19 league tournaments that have taken place.

She has had some of the greatest players in the sport. These include Jennifer Azzi, who helped lead the Cardinal to his first NCAA title, in 1990, four-time All-American Candice Wiggins, sisters Ogwumike Nneka and Chiney, and a team this year that started 5- 0 and appears to be a solid Final Four contender.

“Basketball has always been and always will be a great team sport,” said VanDerveer. “Maybe it’s a record that has Tara VanDerveer’s name on it, but it’s about the athletic directors who hired me and gave me a chance. Great, awesome, awesome assistant coaches who have worked extremely hard for our program. And it’s about having great players.

“I’ve never been the best player on a team I’ve played for. I don’t think of myself as a John Wooden Jr. Coach But I’m determined, I work hard, and I love this basketball game. And I really, really enjoy mentoring young women and helping them get better. ”

Even though Stanford is undefeated, this season has had its challenges. Due to Santa Clara County’s COVID-19 protocol that banned indoor activities like contact sports, Stanford has had to move to Las Vegas to train and play two of its games so far. Sunday’s record-breaking win came over Cal at Berkeley. Tuesday’s victory was in Stockton, Calif., With no fans. But VanDerveer said she was focusing on her players and what to expect from them anyway. She appreciates the recognition, however.

A native of the East Coast who went to college in Indiana and used to watch the practices of Bob Knight, VanDerveer made the Cardinal part of the West Coast Crown Jewels program. She has won 81.3% of her matches, with just 253 losses. In the Pac-12 game, VanDerveer is 512-82 (86.2 percent). And she would have gotten it much sooner, except that she walked away from the Stanford Final Four season in 1995-96 to coach the U.S. National Team, which won the 1996 Olympics.

It was no surprise that VanDerveer thought of Summitt right after Tuesday’s game. The coaches were born one year apart: Summitt in June 1952 and VanDerveer in June 1953.

Summitt began his college coaching career in Tennessee in 1974, while VanDerveer started in Idaho in 1978. Their teams began a streak in 1988, thanks to Azzi being a native of Tennessee, and they met three times in the NCAA tournament, all won by Tennessee.

VanDerveer said she improved from training against Summitt.

“She helped me do it because I played against her teams,” VanDerveer said. “Something I learned from Pat was just being passionate about the game. I study other people; I am a copier. The importance of bouncing back, of playing very hard – his teams did it. They didn’t give up, they were determined teams. ”

UConn’s Geno Auriemma is not far behind VanDerveer; he scored his 1,093rd victory on Tuesday night at Seton Hall. Auriemma took over the Huskies the same year VanDerveer took over the Cardinal.

“I’ve been here since 1985, Tara is still at Stanford,” Auriemma said. ” Is [the success] have something to do with stability, being in one place for so long? What about Pat being in the same place for a long time? I think it has something to do with it.

«Tara [has been] in a big school, a place that really values ​​women’s athletics and women’s basketball. The test of time – this is ultimately what seals your legacy: time. That’s a lot of games to train, let alone win. ”


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