It was an historic night in women’s college basketball on Tuesday, when the University of Stanford Cardinal beat the University of Pacific Tigers 104-61. With the win, Tara VanDerveer of Melrose, MA became the winningest women’s college basketball coach of all-time with 1099 victories.
Of VanDerveer’s 1099 career wins, 942 have been with Stanford, 110 have been with the Ohio State Buckeyes, and 42 have been with the Idaho Vandals. She has also been to the NCAA Final Four 10 times.
There is no doubt that VanDerveer is one of the greatest women’s college basketball coaches ever. Her record speaks for itself. The fact that she has a career winning percentage of .813 is very impressive.
However, success is also based on championships. VanDerveer has won the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship twice–1990 and 1992 with Stanford–but her two titles are nowhere near the number of titles won by two of the most notable head coaches in women’s basketball history.
Geno Auriemma of the University of Connecticut has won 11 national championships, and is only six wins back of VanDerveer with 1093 wins. He even has a better career winning percentage than VanDerveer at .885.
The late Pat Summitt, who VanDerveer passed on Tuesday for the most career wins, had 1098 victories, and a winning percentage of .841. Summitt also led the Volunteers to eight championship titles.
In addition to VanDerveer, three other coaches have won the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on multiple occasions. Kim Mulkey of the University of Baylor has won thrice, while Muffet McGraw of the University of Notre Dame and Linda Sharp of the University of Southern California, have two titles each.
Among coaches with multiple national championships, VanDerveer also has a lower winning percentage than Mulkey (.858). Mulkey may have only won 604 games, but the fact that she has only lost 100 times since 2000, is mighty impressive as well.
To answer my initial question of where does VanDerveer rank? At this time, she should be fourth, behind Auriemma, Summitt, and Mulkey, in that order.