Ryan Young

Tara VanDerveer is the winningest head coach in both men's and women's Division-I basketball.

Tara VanDerveer is the winningest head coach in both men’s and women’s Division-I basketball. (John Todd/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Tara VanDerveer is calling it a career.

The longtime Stanford head coach announced on Tuesday night that she was retiring. The Cardinal will now promote assistant coach Kate Pay, who played for VanDerveer herself, to replace her next season. VanDerveer will remain with the Stanford athletic department in an advisory capacity.

VanDerveer spent 45 seasons coaching throughout college basketball, most of which were at Stanford. She’ll end her career with an NCAA record 1,216 wins.

“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,” said VanDerveer. “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 got her start at Idaho in 1978. She spent two seasons there before landing at Ohio State in 1980, where she led the Buckeyes to three NCAA tournament appearances.

Stanford then hired VanDerveer in 1985, and she quickly turned the program into a basketball powerhouse. In her 38 seasons with the Cardinal, VanDerveer reached the NCAA tournament 35 times, made 14 Final Fours and won three NCAA championships — first in 1990, and then again in 1992 and 2021.

VanDerveer finished with a 1,065-220 overall record at Stanford. The Cardinal went 30-6 this past season, though they were knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the Elite Eight.

“Tara’s name is synonymous with the sport and women’s basketball would not be what it is today without her pioneering work,” said Stanford’s Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics Bernard Muir. “She has been devoted to this campus for 40 years and a servant to all the student-athletes who have come through her program. Tara built one of the sport’s iconic program’s almost immediately upon her arrival at Stanford, and then maintained that standard for nearly four decades. An energetic and positive teacher, a Hall of Famer, a trusted friend and mentor, Tara’s impact is simply unmatched, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to characterize her as one of the most influential people to ever be associated with this university. We will look forward to finding the appropriate ways to honor her deep impact and legacy here at Stanford.”

This post will be updated with more information shortly.

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