Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer wins her record 1,099th game

Stanford basketball coach Tara VanDerveer recorded her 1,099th career victory on Tuesday to surpass Tennessee legend Pat Summitt as the women’s NCAA Division I all-time leader in wins.

‘This is special because of the magnitude of that many wins,’ VanDerveer said after top-ranked Stanford pounded Pacific, 104-61, on Tuesday. ‘You never go into coaching, I never thought, “Well, I’m going to try to win 1,000 games” or anything like that. This is special, currently having the No. 1 team, being undefeated, playing in a pandemic, I will never forget this, for sure.’

With the win, VanDerveer improved her career record to 1,099-253. The 67-year-old’s historic path began far away from the spotlight at the University of Idaho from 1978-80. She then moved on to Ohio State (1980-85) and Stanford, where she is 947-202.

VanDerveer now sits behind only Duke men’s coach Mike Krzyzewski (1,159 wins) in the history of NCAA Division I, college basketball’s highest level. However, VanDerveer’s milestone could be short lived, as 11-time national champion Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma is gaining right behind her with 1,093 wins.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer of the Stanford Cardinal is congratulated by her team after she sets the record for the most victories in Division I women's basketball, with 1,099 during a game between Stanford and Pacific at Alex G. Spanos Center on December 15 in Stockton

Head coach Tara VanDerveer of the Stanford Cardinal is congratulated by her team after she sets the record for the most victories in Division I women’s basketball, with 1,099 during a game between Stanford and Pacific at Alex G. Spanos Center on December 15 in Stockton

With the win, VanDerveer improved her career record to 1,099-253. The 67-year-old's historic path began far away from the spotlight at the University of Idaho from 1978-80. She then moved on to Ohio State (1980-85) and Stanford, where she is 947-202

Summitt (left, with VanDerveer), an eight-time national champion, passed away in 2016 at 64 after battling Alzheimer's

With the win, VanDerveer (left, far right in 2011) improved her career record to 1,099-253. The 67-year-old’s historic path began far away from the spotlight at the University of Idaho from 1978-80. She then moved on to Ohio State (1980-85) and Stanford, where she is 947-202. The Cardinal played in Stockton, California on Tuesday because of COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County that have displaced Stanford sporting events for three weeks. Somehow the unusual setting seemed appropriate for the famously humble VanDerveer, who seemed pleased to break Summitt’s mark with little fanfare at an empty arena. ‘I really hope Pat Summitt (near right) is looking down and saying, “Good job Tara, keep it going,”‘ VanDerveer, a two-time national champion, said of her fellow Hall of Famer. ‘I loved coaching against Pat, and we miss her.’ Summitt, an eight-time national champion, passed away in 2016 at 64 after battling Alzheimer’s

Tennessee women's basketball posted a photo of VanDerveer and Summitt on Twitter and a message that read: '1099. Pat would be proud. Congratulations, Coach VanDerveer!'

Tennessee women’s basketball posted a photo of VanDerveer and Summitt on Twitter and a message that read: ‘1099. Pat would be proud. Congratulations, Coach VanDerveer!’

The Cardinal played in Stockton, California on Tuesday because of COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County that have displaced Stanford sporting events for three weeks.

Somehow the unusual setting seemed appropriate for the famously humble VanDerveer, who seemed pleased to break Summitt’s mark with little fanfare at an empty arena.

‘I really hope Pat Summitt is looking down and saying, “Good job Tara, keep it going,”‘ VanDerveer, a two-time national champion, said of her fellow Hall of Famer. ‘I loved coaching against Pat, and we miss her.’

Summitt, an eight-time national champion, passed away in 2016 at 64 after battling Alzheimer’s.

Tennessee women’s basketball posted a photo of VanDerveer and Summitt on Twitter and a message that read: ‘1099. Pat would be proud. Congratulations, Coach VanDerveer!’

NCAA DIVISION I ALL-TIME WINS LEADERS 

  1. Mike Krzyzewski (Army, Duke): 1,157
  2. Tara VanDerveer (Idaho, Ohio State, Stanford): 1,099
  3. Pat Summitt (Tennessee): 1,098
  4. Geno Auriemma (Connecticut): 1,093
  5. Jim Boeheim (Syracuse): 964
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‘We were friends and obviously competitors,’ VanDerveer said. ‘She had great passion for the game and I think she sees that with me. She loves unselfish basketball which I think she would see with our team.

‘More than anything she helped me get better as a coach because you had to work really hard to prepare. We lost more games than we won against Tennessee. She was a great mentor and a great friend. I think she would be proud of us.’

Dressed casually in all black, VanDerveer received the game ball after the final buzzer. Her dancing players chanted ‘Tara! Tara!’ and gave her a new oversized pullover reading ‘T-DAWG’ to celebrate the latest milestone for the Hall of Fame coach in her 35th season on The Farm and 42nd overall as a college head coach. The wearable blanket was forward Francesca Belibi’s idea.

‘It’s really sweet,’ VanDerveer said.

After the history-making win in a draped-off area upstairs that served as Stanford’s locker room, VanDerveer received a plaque containing a piece of the floor from Stanford’s home court at Maples Pavilion. A framed proclamation from Palo Alto Mayor Adrian Fine was another memento. White long-sleeved shirts commemorating the night were made for the players as well as hand-held confetti poppers and individual mini cakes with an attached sticker that read, ‘Tara at the top.’ Silver balloons with the numbers 1,099 adorned the room.

‘The most important thing I can do as a coach is love you,’ VanDerveer told her players. ‘I love the game of basketball and I want to help you be the best you can be. You’re the people that I care about. Thank you.’

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has 1,157 career wins since he began coaching Army in 1975

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has 1,157 career wins since he began coaching Army in 1975

Fans celebrate Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer 1,000th coaching victory in 2017

Fans celebrate Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer 1,000th coaching victory in 2017

VanDerveer's milestone came with little fanfare as no spectators were allowed in Stockton

VanDerveer’s milestone came with little fanfare as no spectators were allowed in Stockton 

VanDerveer also thanked her parents and family.

‘Hi Mom! Don’t cry, Mom,’ VanDerveer instructed mother Rita, who was watching on TV. ‘It’s happy.’

She planned to donate $10 for each of her wins — $10,990 — to local food banks.

‘We’re playing games and we know people are really suffering, they don’t have jobs, their unemployment is running out, they’re hungry, so I’m so thankful for my job and my opportunity that I just want to make sure I’m giving back,’ she said.

Tara VanDerveer pictured coaching in 1995

Tara VanDerveer pictured coaching in 1995

Although the arena was nearly empty, VanDerveer was applauded on social media, where Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry recorded a video message.

‘Coach VanDerVeeer,’ the two-time NBA MVP began. ‘Just want to say congratulations on breaking the all-time wins record in women’s basketball as a head coach. It’s a true testament to who you are and what you’ve been able to do and build over the course of your career, and building up Stanford to the prestigious program that it is. I know you have a lot more wins in the tank, so I’m sure there’s more to come.

‘I just want to say congratulations on this major, major accomplishment. And congratulations to all your players and coaches that have been along this journey with you. All the best.’

David Shaw, Stanford’s 10th-year football coach, also shared some kind words, saying that he considers VanDerveer among the best ever in any sport, at any level — man or woman.

‘I’ve said it over and over again, I think Tara VanDerveer is one of the best coaches of any sport on this planet because of her ability to change and to cater to the abilities of her athletes at the same time giving them a standard that is necessary for them to grow and to reach their peak,’ Shaw said earlier Tuesday.

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