Quite Simply, Coach Stringer Gets It

By Richard Kent
Updated: November 27, 2006

C. Vivian Stringer CONNECTICUT — Few basketball coaches in the country have endured what Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer has off the court. She lost her husband at a very young age to a heart attack.

One of her children was born very sick and has to spend her time in a wheelchair. Another son was involved in a tragic automobile accident but he survived. Talk about the school of hard knocks.

But Stringer has always gotten off the floor and survived

She is a survivor. She has taken three teams to the Final Four including her current team, Rutgers. C. Vivian Stringer gets it. It is just a game.

Stringer was maligned in Hartford a few years back as her team was about to head into the NCAA Tournament for some comments she made about a very strange altercation between star Cappie Pondexter and UConn head coach Geno Auriemma.

Some racist comments were hurled at her by fans of both Connecticut and Hartford. I know because I heard them. She didn’t respond. She let the games do the talking.

C. Vivian Stringer gets it.

Last weekend, her Scarlet Knights were involved in a strange event at a tournament in the Virgin Islands of all places. They made it to the finals against Arizona State. Rutgers defeated Penn State, a Top 25 team, to set up the matchup with the Sun Devils.

But then the brother of one of the ASU players died in his sleep the night before. He was down there to watch his sister play. ASU officials said they could not play the game.

Stringer could have taken a forfeit. Yet another win for her gaudy resume. But instead she said that the game would not go on. Life was more important.

Tragedies are more important than the game. There are some things more important than winning. And Stringer likes to win probably more than most of us.

C. Vivian Stringer gets it. Don’t forget that.

She will always be a winner even if some of those wins don’t require her to play the game. Her Rutgers team will win their share of games this year, but it is the game they didn’t play that may be more important.

Not only for her, but for her young players as well.