All-Time NCAA Wins Leader, Former Ohio State Coach Tara VanDerveer Announces Retirement After 38 Years at Stanford

By Dan Hope on April 9, 2024 at 11:10 pm
Tara VanDerveer
Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA’s all-time winningest basketball coach is retiring.

Tara VanDerveer, who coached Ohio State women’s basketball from 1980-85 before going on to coach at Stanford for 38 years, announced her retirement from coaching on Tuesday.

“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, who played at Indiana, began her coaching career as an assistant at Ohio State before getting her first head coaching job at Idaho. She spent two seasons at Idaho before returning to OSU in 1980. In five years as Ohio State’s head coach, VanDerveer went 110-37 while leading the Buckeyes to four first-place finishes in the Big Ten and three NCAA Tournament appearances.

Across 38 seasons at Stanford, VanDerveer won 1,064 games, bringing her career win total to 1,216 victories, surpassing Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski for the most ever by an NCAA basketball coach. The Cardinal never missed the NCAA Tournament in her final 36 seasons on the job, winning three national championships and making 15 Final Fours.

Kate Paye, an assistant coach for Stanford for the past 17 seasons, will succeed VanDerveer as the Cardinal’s head coach.

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