Updated Apr 10, 2024 - Sports

Tara VanDerveer, NCAA's winningest basketball coach, announces retirement

 Stanford Cardinal head coach Tara VanDerveer celebrates at Stanford Maples Pavilion after a game against the Oregon Ducks. Tara VanDerveer ties Mike Krzyzewski with 1,202 NCAA career wins at Stanford Maples Pavilion on January 19, 2024 in Palo Alto, California.

Stanford Cardinal head coach Tara VanDerveer celebrates at Stanford Maples Pavilion after a game against the Oregon Ducks on Jan. 19 in Palo Alto, California. Photo: Brandon Vallance/Getty Images

Tara VanDerveer, the NCAA's winningest basketball coach, is retiring after her record-breaking 45-year career, Stanford announced Tuesday evening.

The big picture: VanDerveer surpassed the record of Duke men's coach Mike "Coach K" Krzyzewski in January and finishes with a record 1,216 career victories.

By the numbers: In her 45 years as a head coach, VanDerveer led Idaho (1978-80), Ohio State (1980-85) and Stanford (1985-95, 1996-2024).

  • In 38 seasons at Stanford, the Hall of Famer led the Cardinal to three NCAA championships (1990, 1992 and 2021) and 14 Final Fours.

What she's saying: "I've been spoiled to coach the best and brightest at one of the world's foremost institutions for nearly four decades," said VanDerveer in a statement that did not give a reason for her retirement.

  • "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," she added.
"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."
โ€” Tara VanDerveer

What's next: "VanDerveer's last day on The Farm will be May 8, on the 39th anniversary of her original hire," per Stanford's statement.

  • She will continue to work with Stanford and the Athletics Department in an advisory capacity.

The bottom line: "Tara's name is synonymous with the sport and women's basketball would not be what it is today without her pioneering work," noted Bernard Muir, Stanford's Jaquish & Kenninger director of athletics, in a statement.

  • "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."

Go deeper: Women's NCAA title game beats men's final viewer numbers

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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