Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer, NCAA’s winningest coach, retiring after 38 seasons

Written by on April 11, 2024

Head coach Tara VanDerveer of the Stanford Cardinal yells during the first half against the NC State Wolfpack in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at Moda Center on March 29, 2024 in Portland, Ore. (Soobum Im/Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — Stanford women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer, the NCAA’s winningest coach, is set to retire after 38 seasons.

VanDerveer, 70, announced her retirement decision Tuesday, according to Stanford, and described her coaching career as “an unforgettable ride.”

“Basketball is the greatest group project there is and I am so incredibly thankful for every person who has supported me and our teams throughout my coaching career,” VanDerveer said in a statement. “I’ve been spoiled to coach the best and brightest at one of the world’s foremost institutions for nearly four decades. Coupled with my time at Ohio State and Idaho, and as head coach of the United States National Team, it has been an unforgettable ride.”

“The joy for me was in the journey of each season, seeing a group of young women work hard for each other and form an unbreakable bond,” VanDerveer continued. “Winning was a byproduct. I’ve loved the game of basketball since I was a little girl, and it has given me so much throughout my life. I hope I’ve been able to give at least a little bit back.”

VanDerveer has been coaching for the last 45 years and spent the majority of her career at Stanford. During her tenure, VanDerveer saw 1,216 victories and led the Cardinal to three NCAA championship titles in 1990, 1992 and 2021. She also coached the U.S. national team to a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

VanDerveer made history in January, becoming the first coach in the NCAA to win the most games with any team — women’s or men’s — after the Stanford Cardinal beat the Oregon State Beavers 65-56 in a home game.

“I’m most proud of the improvement and just the life impact that Stanford basketball has on the women I coach,” VanDerveer told ABC News’ Good Morning America at the time. “Basketball is a team sport and obviously I wouldn’t have accomplished this without great assistance and great, great, great players.”

According to Stanford, VanDerveer will continue to work with the university and advise the school’s athletics department. Her last day as a coach will be on May 8, on the anniversary of her Stanford hire date 39 years ago.

Stanford said it is in talks with Kate Paye, who has been a part of VanDerveer’s staff for 17 years and played under VanDerveer between 1991 and 1995, to take over the head coaching position for the 2024-2025 season.

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