Hall of Fame Women's Basketball Coach C. Vivian Stringer Retiring After 50 Years

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 30, 2022

FILE - In this Dec. 31, 2018, file photo, Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer instructs her team during the first half of a NCAA basketball game against Maryland in College Park, Md. The Rutgers women's basketball team last played on Jan. 3 and has been on pause because of COVID-19 issues in the program for the past month. They'll finally play again on Sunday at home against Nebraska. Ironically, that was the Scarlet Knights' last opponent before being shutdown. (AP Photo/Gail Burton, File)
AP Photo/Gail Burton, File

C. Vivian Stringer, who's led the Rutgers women's basketball program since 1995, announced Saturday she's set to retire after 50 years on the sideline.

"This was the hardest decision of my life, but I thank God he has allowed me to do the thing I love most," Stringer said. "I am ready to start my new journey and spending more time with my family, children and grandchildren. I am truly blessed to have had so many wonderful people in my life."

Stringer, 74, started her Hall of Fame career at Cheyney State in 1972 and also made a stop at Iowa from 1983 through 1995. She led her teams to four appearances in the NCAA tournament's Final Four.

Her retirement will become official Sept. 1, but the Scarlet Knights' search for a new head coach will begin immediately.

Stringer compiled a 1,055-426 record (.712 winning percentage) across 50 years as a head coach. The 11-20 record Rutgers posted in 2021-22 marked just her second losing season over the past two decades.

Her long list of accolades is highlighted by the 1993 Naismith College Coach of the Year Award and an Olympic gold medal as an assistant coach for the USA women's team at the 2004 Athens Games.

She guided Iowa to six Big Ten regular-season titles and Rutgers to four Big East titles, three regular season and one postseason. She also led the Scarlet Knights to the 2014 women's NIT championship.

Stringer explained that reflection led her to conclude it's "important to step aside and challenge others to step up and take this game forward."

"To the young ladies that I was fortunate to have coached and mentored into the women and leaders of today, keep pushing the barriers, keep pushing for your spot at the table, and always know who you are," she said.

Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs called the longtime coach a "titan in college basketball."

"As the first coach to lead three different programs to the Final Four, she will continue to be mentioned along with the game's other great Hall of Famers," Hobbs said. "Her place in the history of the game is cemented, but more remarkable is the legions of young women whose lives she helped shape."

School president Jonathan Holloway added: "Coach Stringer's impact has been felt across our campuses, around the state and throughout the nation. She is an icon whose accomplishments on and off the court are as remarkable as they are inspiring."

Stringer was inducted in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.