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Stanford’s Head Coach Tara VanDerveer Makes History

Stanford head coach Tara Vanderveer is presented with a special jersey in celebration of her 1,000th coaching victory at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)
Stanford head coach Tara Vanderveer is presented with a special jersey in celebration of her 1,000th coaching victory at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)

The Women’s Sports Foundation would like to congratulate Stanford Women’s Basketball Head Coach Tara VanDerveer on her 1000th career win. This past Friday night No. 8 Stanford took down USC 58-42 making VanDerveer just the second women’s NCAA Division I coach to reach the impressive milestone. VanDerveer joins the late Pat Summit, who totaled 1,098 wins, and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski as the only three to hit the 1,000 benchmark.

“I never started coaching to win 1,000 games,” VanDerveer said following the game. “I believe that basketball is a team sport, a fundamental sport, and I’m rigid that way, I guess,” she continued. “I’ve never tried to be anybody but me…I am demanding, but I don’t know any other way to be. I am direct. But I feel like my players can see the love I have for the game.”

Following her exciting win, the well wishes and voices of support were heard far and wide. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott joined VanDerveer on the court following the game and remarked, “On behalf of the Pac-12, I would like to congratulate Coach VanDerveer on the amazing and rare accomplishment of 1,000 wins. In a career full of astounding successes, this feat is a true testament to her steadfast commitment to excellence at Stanford and her lasting legacy on the entire sport of basketball.  This truly is a remarkable accomplishment.”

Making stops at Idaho and Ohio State before now being in her 38th season as head coach of the Cardinal program, VanDerveer has certainly cemented an outstanding legacy in sport. A passionate coach with a genuine love for the game, she is noted for believing in the positive impact of having an all-female coaching staff working alongside her.

Now more than ever we can recognize the importance of having women serve as coaches, and therefore positive role models, for young women; yet, recent findings confirm systemic gender bias in coaching across women’s college sports. The Women’s Sports Foundation conducted a nationwide survey – the largest of its kind to-date – designed to generate facts and analysis of the workplace experiences and views of both female and male coaches of intercollegiate women’s sports. Beyond X’s & O’s is unique in that it is the first study to assess male coaches of women’s teams and make comparisons with female coaches.

“How could you be a woman and not experience gender bias?” Tara VanDerveer asked rhetorically when asked about the Foundation’s survey in an interview with espnW. She went on to share, “We have situations within athletic departments where athletic directors don’t want to work with women, who would much rather hire male coaches…There are athletic directors who will hire women and support them pretty well, but may not [have an] understanding of the issues women experience that are different than men.”

In 1971, 90% of women’s teams were coached by women. However, today just 43% of women’s teams are coached by women. Leadership support from college governance organizations, college presidents, chancellors, coaches, athletic and academic administrators is required for meaningful change to occur. As VanDerveer said, “It doesn’t matter how good you are if you don’t have the support from the people above you.”

Learn more about our game plan to eliminate gender bias in women’s college sports here so that more of our youth have an opportunity to be nurtured by strong female coaches like Tara VanDerveer for years to come.