Stringer Gets Win 1,000
We always get excited for an Underdog feature on someone we’ve met and today’s story is no exception.
C. Vivian Stringer is the head women’s basketball coach at Rutgers and she’s one of the toughest, most inspirational coaches in the history of the women’s game. Last night, this Underdog became the sixth coach in Division I history to reach 1,000 wins, joining names like Pat Summit, Geno Auriemma and Mike Krzyzewski.
It’s impossible to fit a 46-year coaching career into a short story, especially someone with her awards and accolades, but here are a few tidbits about Stringer to help you understand her greatness.
When she was a teenager in Edenborn, Pennsylvania, she sued her high school for keeping her off the cheerleading squad because of her race. She won and cheered for multiple years.
Stringer was also a four-sport athlete in her college years at Slippery Rock University. We’ll say that again. Four sports! (volleyball, basketball, softball and field hockey)
Stringer’s coaching career began in 1972 at a school called Cheyney State. Heard of it? She took them to the Final Four in 1982.
Then she did the same with Iowa in 1993. And again (twice) with Rutgers in 2000 and 2007. She’s the only NCAA coach – men or women – to take three different schools to the Final Four.
In the early 90s, Stringer lost her husband to a sudden heart attack. Soon after, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Hearing the word cancer is like experiencing the death of a loved one,” Stringer said.
She became a survivor, raised three kids – one with special needs – and changed the lives of hundreds during nearly a half-century of coaching.
Stringer's team claimed a 73-44 win over Central Connecticut last night, and she claimed her rightful place with a handful of greats as a member of the 1,000-win club.
The daughter of a coal-minor from a small, impoverished Pennsylvania town went through a lifetime of challenges to come out on top, and she's not done yet. This is one underdog we won’t forget meeting.