Stanford's Tara VanDerveer Wins 2021 Naismith Women's Coach of the Year

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 2, 2021

Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer shouts instructions to her team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona State, Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)
Darryl Webb/Associated Press

Stanford's Tara VanDerveer has been named the Naismith Women's Coach of the Year for the third time in her storied career.

The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced VanDerveer as the winner of the award Friday. She beat out fellow finalists Gary Blair of Texas A&M, Wes Moore of North Carolina State and Joni Taylor of Georgia.

VanDerveer said in a statement:

"It is a tremendous honor to be named the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year. I'm very grateful and humbled. I want to thank Stanford University, my athletic director, my assistant coaches and especially, my players. Our team has had a great season, and this award is a reflection of those players, how hard they've worked and how hard they've played."

The Cardinal are chasing the third national title in program history after winning the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament titles. VanDerveer has led them to a 29-2 record and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA women's tournament.

VanDerveer previously earned the Naismith Women's Coach of the Year honor in 1989-90 and 2010-11. She joins Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari, Pat Summitt, Geno Auriemma and Muffet McGraw as the only coaches in men's and women's basketball to win the award at least three times.

In her 35th season with the Cardinal after stints at Idaho (1978-80) and Ohio State (1980-85), VanDerveer has put together one of the most impressive resumes of any coach in any sport.

She is the winningest coach in women's college basketball history with 1,123 career victories. She has won two national titles and made 13 Final Four appearances, won an Olympic gold medal as head coach of the U.S. women's team in 1996 and was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.

VanDerveer and Stanford are two wins away from capturing the national championship. The Cardinal take on South Carolina in the Final Four on Friday at 6 p.m. ET