About Speaker Tara VanDerveer…
In a storied career, Tara VanDerveer has established herself as one of the top coaches in the history of collegiate and international women’s basketball, and been inducted into both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2011) and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2002).
An ambassador for both Stanford University and the sport of college basketball, VanDerveer has enjoyed an unprecedented level of success through an energetic and positive approach to the game. A four-time national coach of the year (1988, 1989, 1990, 2011) and 15-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year, VanDerveer, who prior to coming to Stanford served as head coach for a combined seven seasons at Idaho (1978-80) and Ohio State (1980-85), has accumulated an impressive 1,094-253 (.812) record in her 40 years as a collegiate head coach and an 942-202 (.824) record over 33 seasons at Stanford.
On Feb. 3, 2017, she became the second women’s coach to reach 1,000 career wins when Stanford beat USC in Maples Pavilion, 58-42. VanDerveer has more career wins to her name than 341 of the country’s 349 Division I programs and enters the 2019-20 season 5 victories shy of passing Pat Summitt as the winningest coach in women’s college basketball history.
VanDerveer has led her Stanford teams to two NCAA Championships (1990, 1992), 12 NCAA Final Four appearances, 22 Pac-12 regular-season titles, 13 Pac-12 Tournament crowns and 31 trips to the NCAA Tournament. She also guided Idaho to one AIAW Tournament appearance and Ohio State to a pair of NCAA Tournaments while twice being named Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Her teams have won 20 or more games 34 times, including each of the last 18 seasons, and collected at least 30 victories 15 times. VanDerveer built Stanford into a national power almost immediately upon arrival and has maintained an unparalleled level of success for more than three decades. On Feb. 26, 2016 the Cardinal won its 1,000th game in program history, becoming the seventh Division I institution to reach the milestone, and did so in fewer games than all but two other schools. VanDerveer has accounted for 915 of Stanford’s 1,091 total victories since its first varsity season in 1975 (84 percent).
Perhaps one of VanDerveer’s most notable attributes is her ability to connect with student-athletes and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of college athletics. Considered one of the nation’s premier recruiters, VanDerveer and her staff routinely bring top classes to The Farm. The Stanford staff brought in the likes of Jennifer Azzi and Kate Starbird, both of whom won women’s basketball’s highest individual honor – the James Naismith National Player of the Year Award (Azzi 1990; Starbird 1997) – as well as Candice Wiggins, who in 2008 joined Azzi (1990) as Stanford’s second recipient of the State Farm/WBCA Wade Trophy Player of the Year Award.
First-team All-Americans that have flourished under VanDerveer’s guidance include Alanna Smith (2019), Chiney Ogwumike (2012, 2013, 2014), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2010, 2011, 2012), Jeanette Pohlen (2011), Jayne Appel (2009, 2010), Wiggins (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008), the program’s only four-time All-American to date, Nicole Powell (2002, 2003, 2004), Kristin Folkl (1998), Starbird (1996, 1997), Val Whiting (1992, 1993), Sonja Henning (1991) and Azzi (1989, 1990).
Overall, VanDerveer has guided her players to two Wade Trophy Player of the Year honors, two Naismith Player of the Year honors, 31 first-team All-America honors (WBCA and Associated Press), 18 Pac-12 Player of the Year awards, 75 first team All-Pac-12 selections and nearly 40 appointments to USA Basketball teams.
Many of those players have gone on to have success at the professional level. Stanford has had 30 players play in a regular-season WNBA game since the league’s inception in 1997. The program boasts 12 first-round draft picks out of its 26 all-time selections, including 2016 WNBA MVP Nneka Ogwumike, and has had seven players win a total of eight WNBA titles.
In 1995-96 VanDerveer served as head coach of the USA Basketball National Team, leading the team to a 52-0 exhibition record and then to the Olympic gold medal with a perfect 8-0 run at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
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VanDerveer is a 1975 graduate of Indiana University, where she was a dean’s list scholar for three years and a sociology major. While at Indiana, VanDerveer held one of the starting guard positions for three years on the women’s basketball team. For her efforts at Indiana and her accomplishments after leaving the Hoosiers, VanDerveer was inducted into the Indiana University Hall of Fame in 1995.
An avid waterskier, cyclist and sailor in her spare time, VanDerveer was born June 26, 1953. A Boston native who grew up in upstate New York, she is also a published author. Her book Shooting From The Outside, which chronicled her 1996 Olympic and National Team experience, was released in September 1997. Tara is a member and regular presenter of the esteemed Chautauqua Institute, a750 acre community campus dedicated to the exploration of the best in human values and the enrichment of life through a variety of public events programs.