Tara VanDerveer to retire after 38 years at Stanford

Tara VanDerveer and her team in January after she broke the NCAA record for most wins. Stanford photo.

Tara VanDerveer, who has won more NCAA college basketball games than any coach in history, announced her retirement yesterday after 38 years at Stanford, three NCAA championships and 14 appearances in the Final Four.

Negotiations are underway with Kate Paye, who played under VanDerveer from 1991 to 1995 and has been a member of her staff for the past 17 seasons, to become VanDerveer’s successor, Stanford said in an announcement.

VanDerveer amassed an NCAA-record 1,216 victories in 45 years as a head coach at Idaho, Ohio State and Stanford.

She led the Cardinal to NCAA championships in 1990, 1992 and 2021.

“I’ve been spoiled to coach the best and brightest at one of the world’s foremost institutions for nearly four decades,” VanDerveer said. “The joy for me was in the journey of each season, seeing a group of young women work hard for each other and form an unbreakable bond. Winning was a byproduct. I’ve loved the game of basketball since I was a little girl, and it has given me so much throughout my life. I hope I’ve been able to give at least a little bit back.”

VanDerveer, 70, will continue to work with Stanford and the athletics department in an advisory capacity.

VanDerveer’s last day on The Farm will be May 8, on the 39th anniversary of her original hire.

“Tara built one of the sport’s iconic programs almost immediately upon her arrival at Stanford, and then maintained that standard for nearly four decades, Athletics Director Bernard Muir said. “An energetic and positive teacher, a Hall of Famer, a trusted friend and mentor, Tara’s impact is simply unmatched, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to characterize her as one of the most influential people to ever be associated with this university.”