The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Tara VanDerveer returns to the Palouse as the winningest coach in college basketball history

VanDerveer broke the record in January, has Stanford in top 10 once again
SPOKANE%2C+WA+-+MARCH+28%2C+2011%3A+Head+Coach+Tara+VanDerveer%2C+Stanford+Womens+Basketball+vs+Gonzaga%2C+NCAA+West+Regional+Finals+at+the+Spokane+Arena+on+March+28%2C+2011.+Courtesy+Don+Feria%2C+Stanfordphoto.com
Don Feria
SPOKANE, WA – MARCH 28, 2011: Head Coach Tara VanDerveer, Stanford Women’s Basketball vs Gonzaga, NCAA West Regional Finals at the Spokane Arena on March 28, 2011. Courtesy Don Feria, Stanfordphoto.com

Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer, the winningest coach in college basketball history, has lost to WSU just once in her nearly 40-year Pacific Conference dominance.

WSU head coach Kamie Ethridge, who was inducted into the same College Basketball Hall of Fame class as VanDerveer for her playing career, said she has nothing but respect and admiration for the game’s coaching GOAT.

“So think the world of her, want to beat her, want to beat her bad. and you know, clearly, that’s one program we haven’t beaten in the history of our program,” Ethridge said.

Sunday evening will feature plenty of greatness as head coaches Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan battle for the Lombardi Trophy, but even those two leading NFL coaches could learn a thing or two, or 1,206 and counting, from the winningest coach in college basketball history (men’s and women’s).

VanDerveer has built a storied career and her legacy is well-documented. She has coached at Stanford since 1985 after a five-year stint at Ohio State (1980–85) and her first two years of head coaching on the Palouse as the head coach of Idaho women’s basketball (1978–80).

In 1978, Idaho lost to WSU in VanDerveer’s first year on the Palouse.

She has led Stanford to three NCAA Division-I Championships, 13 Final Four appearances and 14 Pac-12 Tournament Championships. The Cardinal’s 65-56 win over Oregon State Jan. 21 on her home court in Maples Pavillion gave VanDerveer career win No. 1,203, surpassing former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski for the most in college basketball history.

As a student-athlete, VanDerveer debuted at Albany and excelled as a freshman. She chose to transfer to Indiana where she helped her team make the Final Four of the AIAW championship in 1973. She also took basketball coaching classes from IU Hall-of-Fame men’s basketball coach Bobby Knight.

VanDerveer backs up her Hall-of-Fame career with a Hall-of-Fame personality and approach to the game.

“She’s not just an icon, she literally is a living breathing role model and mentor and peer and wants good for women’s basketball and even my program,” Ethridge said.

Ethridge said VanDerveer is a fan of what Ethridge and her staff are building in Pullman and has not shied away from giving her advice.

“Her message was, ‘I just don’t want you to make the mistake that I made,’ Ethridge said. “And so real vulnerable, but just really really wants me to succeed. as a head coach and she thinks that we’ve done a really good job here and she’s proud of that.”

WSU hosts Stanford at 1 p.m. Sunday at Beasley Coliseum.

“She’s a legend, and she’s, the goat and deservedly so, more wins than anybody,” Ethridge said. “But I just appreciate the personal touch because she’s more than that.”

More to Discover
About the Contributor
SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor
Sam is a senior multimedia journalism major from Lacey, Washington and the sports editor for spring 2024. He was the sports editor for the 2022-23 school year and managing editor for the summer and fall 2023. He plays the trumpet in the Cougar Marching Band, loves sports and has worked at the Evergreen since fall 2021.