Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer Makes History, ‘Passes Pat Summitt To Become The Winningest Women’s Basketball Coach’
How many wins does it take to become the “winningest women’s basketball coach”?
Stanford head women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer has now won exactly that much, 1,099, in her illustrious career on Tuesday, passing the late, beloved, incredible Pat Summitt for first in all-time wins per ESPNW.
After getting to 1,098 to tie Summitt (per WBCA), all she needed was one more win to set the record. Her team got it done for their coach, winning 104-61 over Pacific.
VanDerveer has her team undefeated on the season and ranked first in the nation. What a way to get the record, passing up one of the greatest coaches ever in any sport (men’s or women’s) in Summitt.
On the Pat Summitt Foundation site, there’s a touching tribute to the coach, saying:
“Of all the records, awards, and stats, Pat would point to one number as the most significant in her career – 161. This is the number of Lady Vols who contributed to the 1,098 wins over the span of her illustrious career. To these 161 student-athletes she was more than a coach – she was a friend, mentor and a loving mother…The relationship between a mother and son is a special one, and they had an unbreakable bond built on their love for God and for one another…She was most proud of one special moment (Pat and her son, Tyler) shared that outshines all the others. On May 5, 2012, Pat and Tyler were baptized together. On this day, they decided together to go public with their faith and professed their love for and acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. On this day, they created the ultimate and eternal memory, together.”Patricia Sue Head Summitt Obituary on Pat Summitt Foundation site
For VanDerveer, she also understood this feat was bigger than just her.
Coach VanDerveer said she thought back about all the different players she’s coached, wanting to “thank every player (she’s) coached, every administrator (she’s) worked for, assistant coach that (she’s) worked with, trainers, everyone has just made this a great ride” per USA Today.
“Basketball always has been and always will be a great team sport,” VanDerveer said per ESPN. “This might be a record that has Tara VanDerveer’s name next to it, but it is about the athletic directors that hired me and gave me a chance. Great, great, great assistant coaches that have worked extremely hard for our program. And it’s about having great players. I’ve never been the best player of a team I’ve ever played on. I don’t consider myself some John Wooden Jr. coach. But I’m determined, I work hard, and I love this game of basketball. And I really, really love coaching young women and helping them get better.”Tara VanDerveer per ESPN
“Success is a project that’s always under construction,” Summitt once said per her foundation’s site, along with: “Make hard work your passion.”
VanDerveer did exactly that, making hard work her passion as is exemplified through all the wins and how she said she’s determined, works hard, and loves the game of basketball.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at VanDerveer doing her thing, working hard, coaching in practice, teaching, and encouraging:
Women’s college hoops coaches who also have 1,000 wins send their congrats:
And, of course, even more congratulations were in order.
‘History was made…Congratulations to Tara VanDerveer!’:
VanDerveer also said this about Summitt per USA Today: “We were friends and obviously competitors. She would tell me, ‘Tara your team needs to rebound better.’ I think all in all, 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 really had to work hard to prepare. We lost more games than we won against Tennessee. Unfortunately we are not able to play them this year. She was a great mentor and a great friend and I think she would be proud of us.”
And real recognize real. The Lady Vols, where Pat Summitt, coached, were quick to offer their congratulations for Coach VanDerveer.
‘Pat would be proud’:
“It’s just been a great journey,” VanDerveer said per ESPN. “I really hope Pat Summitt is looking down and saying, ‘Good job, Tara. Keep it going.’ I loved coaching against Pat, and we miss her.”
Charlie Lapastora is a sports/news multimedia journalist who’s reported, written, produced, anchored, shot video/edited on different NBC, ABC, and FOX shows in multiple TV markets, along with digital & new media companies. Charlie has traveled the country telling national sports, news, feature, and original stories on a cable news network, airing on top 10 TV markets, satellite radio, and digital platforms. He is passionate about his faith, family—being a husband to whom he calls the G.O.A.T. of women—about reppin’ his home state of Michigan and Detroit teams (yes, including the Lions), good coffee, and loves how sports brings people together. He’s traveled the world leading and coaching sports camps and has also worked at the Detroit Pistons and LA Clippers’ NBA teams.
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