VanDerveer 'Humbled And Honored' To Be In Naismith Hall Of Fame
INDIANAPOLIS - A rare honor came on a difficult day.
Stanford head women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer was still absorbing the disappointment of her team's 63-62 loss to Texas A&M in Sunday night's NCAA semifinals when it was announced that she will be one of 10 people enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.
VanDerveer will be enshrined on August 12 in Springfield, Mass., along with Dennis Rodman, Chris Mullin, Olympian Teresa Edwards and coaches Herb Magee and Tex Winter. VanDerveer will be one of 11 women in the Naismith Hall of Fame.
"It's an incredible honor and I'm overwhelmed by it," VanDerveer said. "This is kind of a tough morning to be a basketball coach for me, waking up after our loss last night."
VanDerveer is the eighth female coach to be inducted. She joins Margaret Wade, Jody Conradt, Pat Summitt, Kay Yow, Sue Gunter, Cathy Rush and C. Vivian Stringer.
VanDerveer, previously enshrined in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, has an 826-198 record in her 32 years as a head coach. She is one of five Division I women's head coaches with more than 800 career victories, achieving that milestone earlier this season.
"Very few coaches have had the impact and success that Tara VanDerveer has achieved at Stanford and on the international level," said Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott. "Aside from all of the wins, the Pac-10 titles, the national championships and the gold medals, she has helped shape the lives of so many impressive young women. Her induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is well deserved and we congratulate her on this wonderful honor."
In 25 years at Stanford, she has compiled a record of 674-147, won 19 Pac-10 titles and national titles in 1990 and 1992. The Cardinal have been to 10 Final Fours under VanDerveer, including the last four. And she is a four-time national coach of the year.
In 1996, VanDerveer stepped away from Stanford for a year to coach the U.S. Olympic team in the Atlanta Games. That team went 60-0 and finished the Olympic tournament with a gold medal. The success of that team led to the formation of two women's professional leagues in the United States, including the WNBA, which begins its 15th season in May.
VanDerveer, 57, admitted Monday morning that the honor was bittersweet considering the disappointment of Sunday night's loss, which ended the Cardinal's season with a 33-3 record.
"I should be really excited and I am, but I wish it hadn't come on this day," VanDerveer said. "On this day, I'm not feeling great…The sun did not come up in the morning here."
VanDerveer said she did not sleep much Sunday night following the loss, replaying the key plays in her mind. The Cardinal came into the tournament as a No. 1 seed and had won 27 in a row before the loss to the Aggies, who disrupted Stanford with aggressive defensive pressure.
"I'm so proud of our team, and really how well we played all year," VanDerveer said. "Texas A&M had a great game and they were a tough matchup for us...Our kids played hard and we will learn from it."
This summer, when she is enshrined, VanDerveer will be returning to her roots in Springfield. Her grandparents met and went to college there. Her mother was raised there and it is the place where she spent many holidays as a child. Many of her cousins still live there.
"It will probably be a family reunion going back there in August," VanDerveer said. "It's a little surreal for me. I don't feel old enough."
Still, VanDerveer called her enshrinement the "ultimate compliment to a coach or a player."
"I'm humbled and honored," VanDerveer said.