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Tara VanDerveer becomes the winningest NCAA Basketball Head Coach

On Sunday, January 21, a new coach took over the title of winningest NCAA Division I basketball coach. Tara VanDerveer surpassed Mike Krzyzewski by recording her 1,203rd win in a 65-56 victory over Oregon State. For many years, Coach K held the title of winningest coach in NCAA basketball history, men's and women's. After coaching 47 seasons, with 42 of them coming at Duke University, Coach K had totaled 1,202 wins. Sunday afternoon, his record was broken. In her team’s win over Oregon State,Tara VanDerveer surpassed Coach K’s win total. Officially the winningest coach in NCAA Basketball history, VanDerveer leads a talented Cardinal squad that looks to return to the NCAA tournament this year after an early loss and subsequent elimination last year. 

VanDerveer began her career coaching women’s basketball in 1978 at the University of Idaho, and after two seasons, went to Ohio State, where she coached for five seasons. In 1985, VanDerveer took over the reins of the Stanford Cardinal Women’s Basketball team, a position she has now held for 38 years. 

VanDerveer has accumulated many career accolades, such as winning the National Championship three times (1990, 1992, and 2021), leading her team to the Final Four 14 times, and winning a gold medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as the head coach of the women's basketball team. (The 1996 Gold Medal- winning women's basketball team featured many dominant players, including Lisa Leslie, Dawn Staley, and Sheryl Swoopes.) VanDerveer is also a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted in 2011) and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted in 2002). Arguably, VanDerveer’s biggest accomplishment is her win total- 1,203 wins and counting. 

Her greatness gained national recognition on December 15, 2020, when she broke Pat Summit’s record of 1,098 wins. Summit, who passed away in 2016, coached at the University of Tennessee from 1974 to 2012. 

On Friday January 19, VanDerveer tied Coach K’s record, and on Sunday, she broke it. 

Coach K still holds the title for winningest coach in NCAA men’s basketball history, but VanDerveer now holds the title across all of NCAA basketball. 

What’s next for VanDerveer and the Cardinal? A pair of games at Arizona State and University of Arizona to round out January, then a few more months of games before the NCAA tournament, where Stanford aims to once again capture a National Championship. 

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