One of the more interesting narratives in Rutgers’ blogosphere is the impact/fate of C. Vivian Stringer, the women’s basketball coach. The news that AD Pat Hobbs is committed to offering Ms. Stringer a four-year contract extension has re-ignited many who feel she should be shown the door. Quite frankly, it is a sentiment I honestly do not understand.
Bob Cancro’s article on the topic brought it back to the forefront of my thoughts. That there is any push-back at all about her continuing as the Rutgers’ women’s basketball coach is truly mystifying to me. After all, Stringer has:
- Taken three different teams to the Final Four (Cheney State, Iowa, Rutgers)
- Taken 15 (out of 21) Rutgers teams to the NCAA tournament
- Won an NIT title with Rutgers just two years ago
- Named a National Coach of the Year by her peers three times
- Had many years of nationally ranked teams
- Sent scores of young women to professional careers in basketball
- Never a hint of scandal around her program
- Provided a perfect 1000 score on most recent APR (all players graduated)
- Won over 900 basketball games in her career
- A record of 449-234 at Rutgers
- Inductee in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA (in same class as Michael Jordan, John Stockton, and David Robinson)
Heck, she even has a building named after her on the Nike campus in Beaverton, OR. Some other names given this honor? John McEnroe, Nolan Ryan, Mike Schmidt, Mia Hamm, Jerry Rice and others.
When Stringer retires, the volume of accolades for her as one of the all-time premier coaches in women’s basketball will be deafening. Having her retire from Rutgers will provide the school with a legendary coach associated forever with the school.
Still, there are those who are concerned and even upset that we are offering her a contract befitting her background and experience. Her most recent contract was almost an embarrassment- merely a series of one-year contracts that Rutgers could at any time walk away and wipe their hands clean. Contracts like that make recruiting difficult, as players want the coach of the school where they commit to remain, as that’s the program they based their opinion on when making their commitment.
By doing this, Rutgers is taking two important steps. They are ensuring that C. Vivian Stringer will retire as the legendary coach of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, as the winningest coach in Big Ten basketball history (311 wins and counting between Iowa and Rutgers), and will in all probability be the second coach in women’s basketball to surpass the 1000 win mark, behind only the legendary Pat Summitt.
Secondly, these accolades will mean a lot to young women who are looking for a program in which they can excel, athletically as well as academically. They will commit to a legendary coach, and one who will be there for their career. With the extension, Rutgers will provide both.
Finally, just between you and me, you can almost guarantee there will be buildings on our campus named after her. Hey, I heard they’re building a new basketball practice facility. You don’t think…