Piscataway, NJ, United States (4E Sports) – The Rutgers Scarlett Knights snapped a four-game losing streak Tuesday, beating South Florida 68-56, as coach C. Vivian Stringer picked up her 900th victory.
“It’s over and now I can just coach and smile, and get back to what I love to do because it’s never been about numbers,” says Stringer.
During the four-game losing streak, Stringer admitted she was tired of talking about when she’d get No. 900. She was getting worn out by it, even snapping at reporters during a media session.
“When I look back on my life, this team, probably this year, best reflects what 900 has been,” she said. “It helped me to remember that it was never easy.”
Stringer, whose record stands at 900-330 in 42 seasons, joins Pat Summitt, Jody Conradt and Sylvia Hatchell in the 900-win club for women’s coaches.
Summitt and Conradt are retired from their head coaching positions at Tennessee and Texas, respectively, while North Carolina’s Hatchell got her milestone victory on Feb. 7.
Stringer, who will turn 65 in March, started coaching in 1971 and says she has no plans to stop anytime soon. She is a Naismith Hall of Famer, three-time national coach of the year, and the first coach in men’s or women’s basketball to take three different schools to the Final Four.
Her teams at Cheyney State, Iowa and Rutgers have appeared in 25 of 31 NCAA tournaments, reaching the Elite Eight on 10 occasions.
Stringer’s players at Rutgers have succeeded in the WNBA.
Cappie Pondexter, 2008 Olympic gold medalist, won two WNBA titles while with Phoenix.
This past season, Rutgers graduate Tammy Sutton-Brown won a WNBA title with Indiana. Rutgers also has sent players such as Epiphanny Prince, Essence Carson, Matee Ajavon and Kia Vaughn to the WNBA.
Stringer sees this season as a microcosm of her career: high and lows, some anger and uncertainty, some frustration, some moments of beautiful promise.
“You go through all those things at various times in your career, but it’s all there now in this one season,” she quipped.