Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer at Rutgers University said she will retire in September, Saturday, who first commanded a college sideline in 1971 and became one of her sport’s leading defensive minds.
The first Black coach to win at least 1,000 Division I basketball games, Stringer, 74, has long been among the famous and idolized figures in college sports. However, in recent years, Piscataway has sometimes been removed from the Rutgers program, which for more than a quarter of a century it has made women’s basketball a mainstay in NJ. He didn’t coach last season and Missed some games towards the end of the 2018-19 season due to fatigue.
“After recently celebrating the first women’s Final Four team at Cheyney State University where it all started, I felt like I’ve been in this for a long time,” Stringer said in a statement. “It’s important to step aside and push others to push this game forward.”
At Rutgers, where he was coach in 1995, Stringer won 535 games and relied on a punishing “55” defense that used all five players under full-court pressure. The Rutgers run included two Final Fours from 17 NCAA tournament berths.
He also guided Cheyney State, a historic Black college near Philadelphia, to the 1982 championship—the first in women’s basketball history in NCAA history—and the University of Iowa to the 1993 Final Four. In 1983, in Iowa, where he took over a program that had won only seven games the previous season, he transformed the Hawkeyes into a model of consistency and strength in the Big Ten Conference.
An NCAA championship was ultimately tough, but Stringer will retire with 1,055 career victories, fifth place in Division I women’s college basketball, and a place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, where she was selected in 2009. Dozens of Stringer players went on to play in the WNBA and professional leagues abroad, including Kahleah Copper, Arella Guirantes, Cappie Pondexter and Erica Wheeler.
Rutgers Announced in April 2021 He announced that he has reached a $5.5 million contract extension with Stringer, who is expected to remain with the Scarlet Knights until the end of the 2025-26 season. But she never coached another game, which fueled disappointments and fueled speculation about the program’s future in women’s basketball.
Last season, the Rutgers went 11-20 with a 3-14 record in Big Ten Conference play.
As Rutgers announced the start of the coaching search on Saturday, university officials were eager to pay homage to Stringer, the second full-time female basketball coach in the school’s history. The university said it would name the home ballpark for Stringer, who will receive $872,988 in connection with a retirement contract.
“My life has been defined by coaching and I have been on this journey for over fifty years,” Stringer said. “It’s rare for someone to do what they love for this long, and I’m lucky to be doing it.”