Stanford head women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer won the 800th game of her career on Wednesday, as the Card defeated the San Francisco Dons, 100-45. Although the win over a struggling and traditionally unimpressive USF squad was somewhat of a foregone conclusion, two of VanDerveer’s former Stanford players–Jennifer Azzi and Katy Steding–coach for the Dons.
VanDerveer has now won 800 of her 997 games as a head coach, which is good for a remarkable 80% winning percentage. Only five other women’s coaches–Pat Summitt, Jody Conradt, C. Vivian Stringer, Sylvia Hatchell, and Barbara Stevens–have won 800 games, and only 8 more have reached the accomplishment on the men’s side of Division I basketball (Bobby Knight, Mike Krzyzewski, Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Jim Phelan, and Eddie Sutton). VanDerveer’s winning percentage trumps that of the more famous Coach K and Bobby Knight, who came to coaching prominence at the same university–Indiana–where VanDerveer played her college ball.
Perhaps most promising for Cardinal fans, VanDerveer’s 800th victory does not appear to be anything like a capstone of her career. She’s young to have reached 800 wins–VanDeerveer turned 57 in June–and it’s not uncommon for successful coaches to continue working into their seventies. Furthermore, VanDerveer is one of the most successful recruiters in the nation, and already has 6 signings for the 2011 recruiting class. All six are ranked in ESPN’s Top 100, and received a grade higher than 90/100 from ESPN.
VanDerveer and the Card now enter the most difficult two-game stretch of the season. #8 Stanford will host #4 Xavier in Maples Pavilion on December 28th before matching up with the #1 UConn Huskies two days later in a nationally televised blockbuster. Stanford faced both Xavier and UConn in the NCAA Tournament last year. Stanford needed a thrilling final sequence to knock off Xavier in the regional final (see video below), and played a very strong first half against Connecticut before falling to the Huskies in the national championship game.