Former Ohio State Coach Tara VanDerveer Announces Retirement After 38 Seasons At Stanford

By April 10, 2024 (9:00 am)Basketball

Tara VanDerveer, the NCAA’s all-time wins leader, former Ohio State women’s basketball coach and head coach at Stanford for the past 38 seasons, announced her retirement Tuesday evening.

“Basketball is the greatest group project there is and I am so incredibly thankful for every person who has supported me and our teams throughout my coaching career,” VanDerveer said in a statement. “I’ve been spoiled to coach the best and brightest at one of the world’s foremost institutions for nearly four decades. Coupled with my time at Ohio State and Idaho, and as head coach of the United States National Team, it has been an unforgettable ride.

“The joy for me was in the journey of each season, seeing a group of young women work hard for each other and form an unbreakable bond. Winning was a byproduct. I’ve loved the game of basketball since I was a little girl, and it has given me so much throughout my life. I hope I’ve been able to give at least a little bit back.”

VanDerveer has compiled an NCAA-record 1,216 wins over 45 years at Idaho (1978-80), Ohio State (1980-85) and Stanford, having coached the Cardinal since 1985 and leading Stanford to national championships in 1990, 1992 and 2021, as well as 13 appearances in the Final Four.

She earned five National Coach of the Year honors, 13 conference Coach of the Year recognitions (11 with the Pac-12 and two in the Big Ten) and was induced into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. She also served as head coach for the U.S. National Team at the 1996 Olympic Games, leading the United State to its third overall gold medal and first since 1988.

VanDerveer played college basketball at Indiana, where she credited some of her later coaching philosophies to time spent taking classes with and observing practices of men’s coach Bob Knight. She later become an assistant coach for Ohio State’s women’s varsity team (and head coach of the junior varsity team) before departing to become head coach at Idaho. She completed two seasons there before returning to Ohio State, where she coached for five seasons and led the Buckeyes to their first NCAA Tournament berth in 1981-82, and later led Ohio State to the Elite Eight in 1984-85.

Following that season, she left for Stanford, where she carved out a Hall of Fame career with the Cardinal. With VanDerveer departing Stanford, the program plans to promote current assistant coach Kate Paye – also a former player under VanDerveer from 1991-95 – to the full-time position.

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