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Stanford's Tara VanDerveer, NCAA's all-time winningest basketball coach, retires

Stanford women's basketball head coach Tara VanDerveer, the winningest coach in NCAA history, announced her retirement Tuesday after 38 seasons with the team.

VanDerveer made history in January when she recorded her 1,203 victory against Oregon State at Maples Pavilion. The win pushed her past the record set by former Duke and Army coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Her record currently stands at 1,216 wins after 45 years as a head coach at Idaho (1978-80), Ohio State (1980-85) and Stanford (1985-95, 1996-2024). She led Stanford to three NCAA championships and 14 Final Four appearances and was a 17-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year along with five national Coach of the Year honors. VanDerveer also coached the 1996 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal at the Atlanta Games during a year away from Stanford.

"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 in a prepared 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."

The university said it is in negotiations with Kate Paye to succeed VanDerveer. Paye once played under VanDerveer in the 90s, and she has been a part of her staff for nearly 20 years.

"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 athletic director Bernard Muir. "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."

VanDerveer will remain at Stanford and the athletics department and will participate in an advisory capacity. She spoke about her retirement and took questions from Bay Area sports media Wednesday afternoon.

Following her announcement, VanDerveer received a wave of accolades from across the sports spectrum, including from tennis great and social justice champion Billie Jean King.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr gave his thoughts on VanDerveer's retirement following Tuesday night's win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I love Tara. She's amazing. We've connected quite a bit. She's come to our practices. I've seen her down on campus. I have so much respect and admiration for her and my initial reaction is, I am thrilled for her," said Kerr. "She can go water-ski. She loves to water-ski, I know. So, congrats Tara on an amazing career."

"Obviously, it's a monumental day in women's basketball, and in basketball in general," said UConn women's basketball head coach Geno Auriemma. "When you've coached for this extended period of time and you've accomplished what Tara's accomplished, it has an incredible effect on the basketball community. The number of wins, the national championships, the Hall of Fame. She's had an incredible career and she's left a great impact on the sport. It's been exciting to compete against her all these years. Congratulations to Tara, and I'm sure she'll enjoy the next phase of her life."

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