- Stanford's Tara VanDerveer became the winningest head coach in women's college basketball history with her 1,099th victory Tuesday night.
- In doing so, the longtime Cardinal head coach surpassed the record of late Tennessee Volunteers coaching legend Pat Summitt.
- Before securing a 104-61 victory over the Pacific Tigers and reaching the pinnacle of the women's game, VanDerveer made a heartfelt speech to her team toasting Summitt's incredible legacy.
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Tara VanDerveer is officially the winningest coach in NCAA women's basketball history.
But before she earned her record-breaking 1,099th career victory Tuesday night, the longtime Stanford Cardinal head coach made sure to honor the icon she was set to surpass: Pat Summitt.
In a conversation with her team on Monday, VanDerveer paid tribute to the late Tennessee Lady Vols head coach, whose influence transcended the world of college basketball and whose voice helped set a tone of respect and admiration for women across the world of sports and beyond. Upon receiving a framed photo of herself alongside Summitt in one of their final on-court interactions, the 24-year Stanford playcaller recounted the moment to her players.
VanDerveer recalled telling her opponent "Pat, look what you built here" in awe, to which Summitt responded "Tara, I love you." The Stanford coach remembered that simple comment catching her off guard.
"I wanted to get fired up to beat them, and it kinda just took the whole wind out of my sails," VanDerveer told her players. "But this is what basketball is all about, really. It's loving your teammates, even the coaches you play against, and just going hard."
She followed that anecdote by rallying her team to "set the record" in their next game, and she earned the Lady Vols' blessing before pulling off the massive feat.
Before her untimely death due to early-onset Alzheimer's in 2016, Summitt built a dynasty on the court in Knoxville. She led the Lady Vols to a whopping eight championships in her 38 years at the helm and helped 45 former players and assistants become coaches. Among those protégés is UC San Diego head coach Heidi VanDerveer, Tara VanDerveer's younger sister.
After the elder VanDerveer coached the Cardinal to a 104-61 victory over the Pacific Tigers on Tuesday, she celebrated by putting on a custom "T-Dawg" fleece hoodie before her players brought the party into the locker room with confetti and balloons.
As of Tuesday night, VanDerveer trails just one individual — Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski — on the of all-time list of winningest Division I coaches. And she's sure to add many more tallies to the win column, as Stanford is currently the top-ranked team in the nation.
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