By Richard Kent
Updated: December 19, 2004
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The 2004-05 season has already been a banner one for legendary Rutgers women’s basketball coach Vivian Stringer. On December 8, she reached the 700-win plateau in a home victory against Princeton.
Stringer, who is in her 10th season in Piscataway and 33rd overall as a head coach, became the 21st Division I member and ninth active coach to join the exclusive club.
She is fourth-all time on the women’s wins list (701-246, a .740 winning pct.), just eight wins shy of overtaking former LSU head coach Sue Gunter.
Last week, “This Is A Game Ladies”, a documentary by Partisan Pictures that chronicled her team during the 2000-2001 season, made its national television debut on PBS.
And following a home win against Clemson on Saturday, she found out that leading scorer Cappie Pondexter (17.9) will be back in time for the Scarlet Knights’ game against Tennessee on December 29.
But the veteran head coach takes it in stride. She vows that she will never think about all of the achievements until she hangs it up.And that won’t be for some time.
Stringer has a team this year that can beat anyone. The only thing they lack is a true center, but so do most women’s teams.A player like Jessica Moore of UConn could give Rutgers problems, but few other players can. Just ask Jim Davis of Clemson.
Stringer is the only coach in the history of men’s or women’s basketball who has taken three schools to the Final Four. That includes Rutgers in 2000, a fact well documented the PBS presentation.
It also showed Stringer as a tough, compassionate, and caring coach, The film also showed some of the true tragedies in her life such as the untimely death of her husband on Thanksgiving Eve when she was the head coach at Iowa.
It also showed her as a mother to her 3 adoring children.Stringer showed tough love with many of her players and it worked. Especially with Tammy Sutton-Brown who went on to star for the Charlotte Sting of the WNBA.
Stringer is already inshrined in the Women’s Hall of Fame in Knoxville and it won’t be long until she is inducted into Springfield. Don’t be surprised if she has her Rutgers team back in the Final Four again within the next three years.
Quite an accomplishment for the diminutive Slippery Rock graduate.