Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer, the towering pillar of preeminence who hovered over the women’s college basketball universe, is retiring after 50 years on the sidelines.
The coaching pioneer announced on Saturday, April 30, 2022, that she is leaving the game after accumulating a momentous 1,055 wins and guiding her teams to 28 NCAA tournament appearances and four Final Four berths during her storied career at Cheyney State, Iowa and most prominently at Rutgers University.
Charlaine Vivian Stringer’s list of accomplishments is jaw-dropping and too numerous to name here. She became the first coach, man or woman, to ever lead three different teams to the college basketball Final Four. Most significantly, Stringer also became the only woman’s coach to ever lead an HBCU, Cheyney, the holy grail of the sport, to the national championship in 1982.
Stringer also coached 21 women who went on to become WNBA draft picks, including Sue Wicks, Cappie Pondexter and Essence Carson as well as current players Kia Vaughn, Epiphanny Prince, Eric Wheeler and reigning WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper.
“My life has been defined by coaching and I’ve been on this journey for over five decades. It is rare that someone gets to do what they love for this long and I have been fortunate to do that,” Stringer said in a statement obtained by ESPN. “After recently celebrating the first women’s Final Four team at Cheyney State University, where it all started, it sat with me that I have been at this for a long time. It is important to step aside and challenge others to step up and take this game forward.
“This was the hardest decision of my life, but I thank God he has allowed me to do the thing I love most. 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.”
The university confirmed Saturday that Stringer will be paid $872,988 in a retirement agreement.
One of Stringer’s protégés, Hall of Fame player Dawn Staley, just became the first-ever Black head coach, man or woman, to win multiple national championships (with the South Carolina Gamecocks) in April 2022.
“Coach Stringer thank you for elevating our game,” Staley tweeted to Stringer. “The strength of your shoulders allowed us to stand tall. We will forever keep your legacy in our hearts. Thank you Coach Stringer.”
Below is Stringer’s official induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. The second video is Stringer’s remarkable road to more than 1,000 career victories.