Tara VanDerveer is the head women's basketball coach at Stanford, where she has served in that position since 1985. VanDerveer is one of an elite group of coaches who have won at least 800 games at the Division I level, earning her 800th victory during the 2010-11 season. A two-time national champion and three-time national coach of the year, VanDerveer was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.
VanDerveer was born on June 26, 1953, in Boston, Massachusetts. She played college basketball at Indiana University, where she was a three-year starter and a Dean's List scholar. As a sophomore, VanDerveer helped lead the Hoosiers to the AIAW Final Four, where they lost to Queens College in the semifinals. In 1995, VanDerveer was inducted into the Indiana University Hall of Fame.
Early Coaching Career
After serving as a junior varsity coach while earning her Masters' degree at Ohio State, VanDerveer became the head coach at Idaho in 1978. She coached the Vandals for two seasons, racking up a 42-14 mark. In '79-80, Idaho reached the AIAW Tournament, but the season would be VanDerveer's last with the school. She returned to Ohio State in 1980, this time as the head coach. VanDerveer spent five seasons at the helm of the Buckeyes, winning an average of 22 games a season. In her final year at Ohio State, VanDerveer went 28-3, leading the team to the Elite 8. During her tenure in Columbus, Ohio State compiled four consecutive 20-win seasons, won four Big Ten titles and reached the NCAA tournament three times.
Following her success at Ohio State, VanDerveer was tabbed to become the head coach at Stanford, becoming the third person in school history to hold that position. Her career with the Cardinal got off to a slow start, as Stanford finished .500 or worse in each of her first two seasons, failing to reach the NCAA tournament. However, in the 1987-88 season, the Cardinal went 27-5, earning VanDerveer national coach of the year honors, and kicking off a run of eight consecutive seasons of reaching at least the Elite 8.
VanDerveer repeated as coach of the year in both 1988-89 and 1989-90. The latter season was her most successful as a coach, as the Cardinal went 32-1 and won their first NCAA championship. Stanford opened the season by winning 20 consecutive games, and went on to set more than 100 school, Pac-10 and NCAA postseason records.
VanDerveer and the Cardinal added a second national title in 1991-92, despite losing three first-team all-conference players from the previous season. Stanford finished the season 30-3 and knocked off Western Kentucky in the championship game to earn its second title in three seasons.
Following another Final Four berth in 1994-95, VanDerveer took a one-year hiatus from coaching the Stanford program to serve as the full-time coach of the U.S. women's national team. In a yearlong tour leading up to the 1996 Olympics, VanDerveer led the national team to a perfect 60-0 mark, culminating in a gold-medal-winning performance in Atlanta. VanDerveer had previously served as an assistant on the 1992 team that won bronze in Barcelona.
Upon her return to Stanford, VanDerveer immediately got Stanford back to the Final Four, but it would be the school's last trip that deep into the NCAA tournament for 11 years. The next season, Stanford suffered a shocking first-round upset at the hands of 16-seeded Harvard. In 1998-99, Stanford dipped to 18-12, VanDerveer's first season with double-digit losses since 1986-87. Over a three-year period, Stanford averaged nearly 11 losses per year, and failed to advance beyond the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
2001-02 marked a return to form for VanDerveer and the Cardinal, as they went 32-3 and reached the Sweet 16. That kicked off a run of 10 consecutive seasons with at least 26 wins, a streak that is still active. In 2007-08, VanDerveer led the Cardinal back to the Final Four, posting a school-record 35 wins before losing in the national championship game to Tennessee. Two years later, the Cardinal found themselves back in the championship, falling to Connecticut.
2010-11 was a milestone season for VanDerveer, marked by her fourth consecutive trip to the Final Four. On Dec. 22, 2010, she became just the fifth Division I women's basketball head coach to win 800 career games, leading Stanford to a win over San Francisco. Just over a week later, she helped Stanford snap Connecticut's record 90-game win streak, becoming the first team to beat the Huskies since Stanford had done so more than two years earlier. The two schools appeared to be on track to meet again in the national title game, but both lost in the Final Four.
Tara VanDerveer Year-by-Year College Coaching Record
Through 2010-11 Season
|1979-80||Idaho||25-6||AIAW First Round|
|1981-82||Ohio State||20-7||NCAA First Round|
|1983-84||Ohio State||22-7||NCAA First Round|
|1984-85||Ohio State||28-3||NCAA Elite 8|
|1987-88||Stanford||27-5||NCAA Sweet 16|
|1988-89||Stanford||28-3||NCAA Elite 8|
|1990-91||Stanford||26-6||NCAA Final Four|
|1992-93||Stanford||26-6||NCAA Sweet 16|
|1993-94||Stanford||25-6||NCAA Elite 8|
|1994-95||Stanford||30-3||NCAA Final Four|
|1995-96||On leave, coaching U.S. National Team|
|1996-97||Stanford||34-2||NCAA Final Four|
|1997-98||Stanford||21-6||NCAA First Round|
|1998-99||Stanford||18-12||NCAA First Round|
|1999-00||Stanford||21-9||NCAA Second Round|
|2000-01||Stanford||19-11||NCAA Second Round|
|2001-02||Stanford||32-3||NCAA Sweet 16|
|2002-03||Stanford||27-5||NCAA Second Round|
|2003-04||Stanford||27-7||NCAA Elite 8|
|2004-05||Stanford||32-3||NCAA Elite 8|
|2005-06||Stanford||26-8||NCAA Elite 8|
|2006-07||Stanford||29-5||NCAA Second Round|
|2008-09||Stanford||33-5||NCAA Final 4|
|2010-11||Stanford||33-3||NCAA Final 4|
TARA VANDERVEER QUICK FACTS
Birth Date: June 26, 1953
Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts
Career as coach: 1978-80, Idaho; 1980-85, Ohio State; 1985- Pres., Stanford
NCAA Titles: 2
Olympic Medals: Bronze, 1992 (as assistant), Gold, 1996 (as head coach)
Inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011