Rutgers U. of NJ coach C. Vivian Stringer retires after 50 years
C. Vivian Stringer was a trailblazer, serving as a role model for many black coaches and players throughout her 50-year career.
The Hall of Fame coach announced his retirement on Saturday.
She finished with 1,055 wins – fourth all-time among Division I women’s basketball coaches behind Tara VanDerveer, Geno Auriemma and Pat Summitt.
Stringer made four Final Four appearances and reached the NCAA Tournament 28 times while leading Cheyney State, Iowa and Rutgers. She was the first men’s or women’s basketball coach to take three different teams to the national semi-finals.
Stringer was emotional when she spoke to her team Friday night on a Zoom call.
“My life has been defined by coaching and I have been on this journey for over five decades,” she said in a statement. “It’s rare that someone can do what they love for so long and I’ve been blessed to do that. I love Rutgers University for the incredible opportunity it has given me and the tremendous victories we have won together.”
When Stringer first entered coaching in 1971 at Cheyney State, there were no other black female coaches to go to for advice. She turned to her friend and mentor John Chaney, who was the school’s male coach.
“I am forever indebted to every coach I have worked with,” Stringer said in his statement. “Some were ex-players, some were colleagues, but all were friends and family at the end of the day and were my most trusted relationships.
“To the young women I have been blessed to have coached and mentored into the women and leaders of today, keep pushing the barriers, keep pushing for your place at the table, and always know who you are. are.”
One of the many coaches influenced by Stringer is Dawn Staley of South Carolina, who won her second national championship on April 3.
“Coach Stringer represents hope for us,” Staley said just before Stringer won her 1,000th match in 2018. “She didn’t win a national championship, but she made it to the Final Four with three different schools. This is historic for us. She seized the opportunity to succeed wherever she went and she gave us an example of how to succeed no matter what opportunity you were given.
Staley tweeted his admiration for Stringer on Saturday.
“Coach Stringer thank you for raising our game,” Staley said. “The strength of your shoulders allowed us to stand. We will forever hold your legacy in our hearts. Thanks Coach Stringer.
Stringer sent numerous Rutgers players to the WNBA during his tenure, including Cappie Pondexter, Essence Carson, Betnijah Laney and Epiphanny Prince.
“Stringer was a great coach. I’ve known her all my life,” said Laney, whose mother also played for Stringer at Cheyney State. “To have the ability to play for her and learn from her, the legacy she has built, I wish her only the best of luck in her retirement.
Stringer, 74, had been on leave last season due to COVID-19 issues. She signed a five-year extension before going on leave last April.
Her retirement takes effect September 1 and she has agreed to a pension buyout of $872,988. Rutgers will name its basketball court in his honor next season.
Rutgers chairman Jonathan Holloway said naming the field after him is “a fitting and indelible tribute to one of the greatest managers of all time”. He called Stringer “an icon” whose impact was “felt on our campuses, across the state and across the country.”
Stringer has coached at Rutgers since 1995, winning 535 games. She led the Scarlet Knights to the NCAA title game in 2007 when they lost to Tennessee.
She also took Rutgers to the Final Four in 2000 after guiding Cheyney State to the first NCAA title game in 1982 and Iowa to the national semifinals in 1993.
“Coach Stringer is a college basketball titan, inspiring generations of student-athletes and coaches to strive for excellence on and off the court,” said Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs. “Her place in the history of the game is cemented, but what’s even more remarkable are the legions of young women whose lives she helped shape.”
Stringer moved from Cheyney State, Pennsylvania to Iowa, where she raised the Hawkeyes beginning in 1983 and set an attendance record in 1985 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Stringer left Iowa to train at Rutgers after her husband Bill died.
“There’s always a soft spot in my heart for the University of Iowa and Dr. Christine Grant for giving me my first major coaching job,” Stringer said. “…She was a firm believer in women’s rights and it is a responsibility that I have defended and will continue to fight for.
Stringer has won 20 or more games 37 times in his career, finishing with a record of 1,055-426 (0.712 winning percentage). She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. Stringer was also an assistant coach for the gold-medal winning 2004 U.S. Olympic team.
The school will immediately begin the search for a new coach. Associate head coach Tim Eatman had taken over from Stringer in his absence.
“It was the hardest decision of my life, but I thank God that he allowed me to do the thing I love the most. I’m ready to start my new journey and spend more time with my family, my children and my grandchildren,” she said. “I am truly blessed to have had so many wonderful people in my life.”
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