Hall of Fame basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer announced her retirement Saturday morning through a press release. Stringer’s retirement will take effect September 1, 2022 and will receive $872,988 under the agreement. Additionally, Rutgers announced that the field at Jersey Mike’s Arena will officially be named the C. Vivian Stringer Court. with an inauguration ceremony to be held next season.
Rutgers also announced that a nationwide search for her replacement will begin immediately. Stringer did not coach last season after being on leave since April 2021. She ended all speculation on Saturday by announcing she would not return to the bench.
“I officially announce my retirement,” Stringer said. “Coaching has defined my life and I have been on this journey for over five decades. love Rutgers University for the amazing opportunity it has given me and the tremendous victories we have achieved together.There is always a soft spot in my heart for the University of Iowa and Dr. Christine Grant for giving me my first major coaching job, when my husband and I trusted her to move our family to Iowa. She was a firm believer in women’s rights and that’s a responsibility I championed and for which I will continue to fight.
“After recently celebrating the first women’s Final Four team at Cheyney State University, where it all started, I realized that I had been there for a long time. It’s important to step back and put others challenged to step up and move this game forward. I am forever indebted to all the coaches I have worked with. Some were ex-players, some were colleagues, but all were friends and family at the end of the day and were my most trusted connections To the young women I have been blessed to have coached and mentored into the women and leaders of today, keep pushing the barriers, keep pushing for your place at the table and always know who you are.
“It was the hardest decision of my life, but I thank God for allowing me to do the thing I love the most. I’m ready to start my new journey and spend more time with my family, my children and my grandchildren. I am so lucky to have had so many wonderful people in my life.
In Stringer’s 50 years as a head coach, she had 1,055 wins, four Final Four appearances and 28 NCAA Tournament appearances during stops at Cheyney State, Iowa and Rutgers. She was the first men’s or women’s basketball coach to lead three different college programs to the Final Four after doing so with the three schools she coached.
Only the second full-time head coach in Rutgers women’s basketball history, she has won 535 games at Rutgers since taking over the program in 1995. Stringer has led RU to 17 NCAA tournaments, including 10 consecutive 2003 to 2012, as well as two Final Four appearances in 2000 and 2007, when the Scarlet Knights advanced to the NCAA Championship Game.
In 2018, Stringer became the fifth NCAA Division I women’s basketball coach to reach 1,000 career wins and was the first African-American coach to accomplish the feat. She is ranked fifth all-time with 1,055 career wins in women’s college basketball. She is the NCAA record holder with 37 seasons of 20 or more wins. According to the press release, “Stringer was awarded the John R. Wooden Award ‘Legends of Coaching’ based on character, success on the court, student-athlete graduation rate in their basketball program, coaching philosophy and identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award.
21 student-athletes who played for Stringer were selected in the WNBA draft, and many more have played professionally overseas.
“Coach Stringer is a college basketball titan, inspiring generations of student-athletes and coaches to strive for excellence on and off the court,” said Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs. “As the first female coach to lead three different programs all the way to the Final Four, she will continue to be mentioned along with the game’s other great hall of famers. Her place in the game’s history is cemented, but what Even more remarkable are the legions of young women whose lives she helped shape.
“Coach Stringer’s impact has been felt on our campuses, across the state and across the country. He is an icon whose accomplishments on and off the court are as remarkable as they are inspiring,” said Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway.
“To name the field at one of college basketball’s most notable venues after him is a fitting and indelible tribute to one of the greatest coaches of all time,” he added.
Stringer’s team was known to be tough and defensive. She devised the “55 defense” which was an aggressive, pressing style that exerted tremendous pressure and exhausted opponents. His teams were ranked No. 1 in defense nationally in 1981, 1983 and 1993 and No. 2 in 1985, 2005, 2006 and 2008.
Stringer led his teams to nine NCAA Tournament Regional Finals (1982, 1987, 1988, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2008). She had 17 players selected to All-Big Ten teams, including a Defensive Player of the Year, as well as 41 All-BIG EAST winners, including four Defensive Players of the Year.
In addition to her accomplishments in women’s college basketball, Stringer has also enjoyed success in international play. She was an assistant coach for the gold-medal winning US Olympic team in 2004, Stringer was instrumental in the development of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Stringer also sits on the board of the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund and, in partnership with the V Foundation for Cancer Research, is a breast cancer initiative.
Stringer has been inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, and New Jersey Hall of Fame.
Congratulations to Coach Stringer on his legendary career!