Tara At The Top.
Tara VanDerveer is a legend. And legends rewrite history books.
The Stanford Cardinal defeated the Pacific Tigers on Tuesday night, 104-61, and in doing so, Coach VanDerveer passing Pat Summitt for most wins all-time in women’s college basketball history!
The win gave Coach Tara victory No. 1,099, surpassing the 1,098-mark that she tied with a victory over Cal on Sunday night. VanDerveer is now in sole possession of the most wins all-time among head coaches in women’s college basketball history.
As great as getting the win to tie Coach Summitt was on Sunday night, nothing will touch breaking the record and rewriting the history books in the process. As Coach VanDerveer said herself on Sunday night, let’s set the record.
And set the record she did.
Of course, Coach Tara had nothing but the utmost respect for the legendary coach Summitt who she just passed.
“We were great friends,” VanDerveer said. “I learned a lot from coaching against Pat ... I think the thing I learned the most was just how much her players loved player for her. As a coach, I think that’s all of our goals. To be like Pat is to be a coach where your players love playing for you.”
Those feelings were certainly mutual.
1099.— Lady Vol Basketball (@LadyVol_Hoops) December 16, 2020
Pat would be proud.
Congratulations, Coach VanDerveer! pic.twitter.com/T2R6hmVqCh
It’s safe to say Coach VanDerveer’s players love playing for her too.
And now, she’s cemented in among the legends of the sport (as if she wasn’t already set there before).
And legends get legendary calls. Bay-Area star Stephen Curry made it feel surreal with a special message to Coach Tara.
"I know you have a lot more wins in the tank and I'm sure there's more to come, but I wanted to say congratulations on this major, major accomplishment."— Stanford Women’s Basketball (@StanfordWBB) December 16, 2020
A special message to the from @StephenCurry30. #TaraAtTheTop | #GoStanford pic.twitter.com/2fR1ZNgpi8
And NCAA President Mark Emmert even had to weigh in.
Coach VanDerveer’s list of accomplishments would take a week to unfold in one story but it’s a story worth telling. From her playing days at Albany and Indiana to her beginnings as a head coach at Idaho and Ohio State, the legendary VanDerveer has been at Stanford since the 1985 season, serving as head coach in every season except the 1995-1996 season when she coached the Olympic Team. She’s won two Division I Tournaments (1990, 1992) and made the Final Four 12 separate times (1990-92, 1995, 1997, 2008-2012, 2014, 2017). Her teams at Stanford have won the Pac-12 on 25 occasions including stretches from 1989-1993, 1995-1998, 2017 and a record streak from 2001-2015.
Coach VanDerveer even won the Big Ten four times at Ohio State from 1982-1985.
She’s been named Coach of the Year four times, most recently in 2011, and the Pac-10/Pac-12 Coach of the Year 15 times, most recently in 2018.
Coach Tara was named with the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award in 2014 and was inducted into both the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
As a head coach of the United State Olympic Basketball team, she won the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games as well as Bronze at the FIBA World Championship for Women in 1994. Her team also won gold at Goodwill Games in 1994 in St. Petersburg.
She was given the Carol Eckman Award in 2018.
As a coach, she’s coached two Wade Trophy Players of the Year, two Naismith Player of the Year honors, 31 first-team All-Americans, 18 Pac-12 Player of the Year award winners, 77 first-team All-Pac-12 selections and nearly 40 total appointments to USA Basketball teams. Coach VanDerveer has had 12 players selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft since the league’s inception in 1997 and 30 separate players have played in the WNBA since.
Coach VanDerveer has won 947 games at Stanford, and you can bet No. 947 is arguably the most special.
And you could guess she was as humble as could be after setting the new record.
“What a special night,” she said in a statement. “I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of messages of love and support. I can’t wait to reach back out to everyone individually, but in the meantime, time to get some rest for my morning swim!”
And no milestone was set without a call from mom.
May the celebrations never stop for T-DAWG.
Congratulations, Coach Tara. Congratulations on a record well-deserved, well-earned.
Congratulations, Coach VanDerveer, the all-time winningest head coach in women’s college basketball history.
That feels great to write. And I’m sure it feels greater to break the record itself.