Stanford women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer etched her name in the record books on Sunday, becoming the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history with her 1,203rd career victory. Her Stanford Cardinal squad defeated Pac-12 rival Oregon State to secure the historic win.
Lead Up to the Record-Breaking Win
VanDerveer entered Sunday’s game needing just one win to pass Duke men’s coach Mike Krzyzewski for the most combined NCAA wins for a basketball coach. Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils since 1980, racking up 1,202 victories and five national championships.
But VanDerveer’s accomplishment is perhaps even more impressive. She has built the Stanford women’s program into a perennial powerhouse since taking over in 1985, capturing two national titles and making the Final Four 13 times. Her teams have won at least 22 games for the last 20 seasons.
This year’s Cardinal squad sports a 15-3 record, including a big comeback overtime win over Tennessee. They are ranked #5 in the country and well positioned to make another deep tourney run.
The Record-Setting Game
On Sunday, Stanford hosted Oregon State in Maples Pavilion. The Beavers kept it close in the first half, trailing just 30-24 at the break. But the Cardinal took control in the third quarter to build a 50-38 advantage.
Stanford eventually pulled away for a 65-56 victory, the 1,203rd win in VanDerveer’s illustrious 38-year career. Her lifetime record now stands at a remarkable 1,203-253.
“This is special because of the people I share it with,” VanDerveer said after the game. “It’s the players, the coaches, my family, all the administrators. This is way bigger than just me….It takes a village, it takes a team.”
Senior guard Haley Jones led Stanford’s balanced attack with 18 points. Junior Cameron Brink notched a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Reaction from Peers
News of VanDerveer’s monumental accomplishment reverberated throughout the basketball world. Fittingly, another legendary coach was on hand to witness the moment.
“Congrats, my friend. Well deserved, and the best is yet to come,” said UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma, who has won 11 national championships of his own.
Even the coach she surpassed offered praise. “I want to extend my sincere congratulations…on becoming the all-time winningest coach in college basketball – men’s and women’s,” Krzyzewski posted on Twitter. “Your dedication, commitment and leadership over the years has been a credit to Stanford University and the game of basketball.”
What’s Next for VanDerveer and Stanford
At age 69, VanDerveer shows no signs of slowing down. She brings the same energy and passion to practices as she displayed when she first started coaching. Her Cardinal teams will remain a fixture in the national title picture for years to come.
The next milestone within reach is Pat Summitt’s all-time mark for most victories by a D-1 basketball coach. The legendary Tennessee coach won 1,098 games before her death in 2016. VanDerveer is now just 104 wins shy of matching that standard.
For now, VanDerveer will look to guide her 2022-23 Stanford squad back to the Final Four. The Cardinal were last crowned champs in 2021-22 when they defeated Pac-12 rival Arizona in the title game.
If VanDerveer continues coaching into her 70s, she may put the career wins record completely out of reach. But whether she retires next year or five years from now, her impact on Stanford and the sport itself is everlasting. After 38 seasons, her passion for the game still burns bright.
And after career win #1,203, Tara VanDerveer reigns alone atop the NCAA coaching annals – exactly where she belongs.
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