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Vivian  Stringer

Vivian Stringer

Inspirational Basketball Coach

Vivian Stringer

Inspirational Basketball Coach


The master builder of basketball programs, Rutgers head coach and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Vivian Stringer has catapulted three different college basketball programs from obscurity to national prominence during her 35 years as a head coach.

A pioneer, visionary, and innovator during her three decades on the sideline, she was the first in men’s or women’s basketball to take three different schools to the Final Four:  Cheyney University in 1982, The University of Iowa in 1993, Rutgers, and The State University of New Jersey in 2000.  She is the third coach in Women’s college basketball history to have reached 800 victories, a goal shared with Tennessee’s Pat Summitt and the former Texas coach Jody Conradt, and a mark reached by only five men’s coaches.  Stringer has led her teams to 19 NCAA Tournament appearances, including eight of the last nine years, and has coached in seven regional finals.

Stringer began her teaching and coaching career at Cheyney, a small, historically black school outside of Philadelphia, PA, in the early 1970s. Following 11 successful seasons, she sought out a new challenge at The University of Iowa. Beginning with the 1983-84 season, Stringer built a program that helped elevate women’s basketball to a whole new level, generating unprecedented amounts of attention to The Hawkeyes, culminating in women’s basketball’s first-ever advance sellout. Becoming the first coach in history to lead two different schools to the national semifinals, Stringer led The Hawkeyes to the 1993 Final Four.

Stringer arrived at Rutgers in 1995 armed with little else than her belief in the program’s potential, calling it the “Jewel of the East” upon her hiring. She saw her hard work, determination, and plans come together in 1998 when her team, filled with nine freshmen and sophomores, posted its first 20-win season in four years, winning the Big East 7 Division title.

Stringer has earned many awards throughout her stellar career.  In 2003, she was recognized by Sports Illustrated as one of the “101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports,” and in 2004, she received the Black Coaches Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  She also was awarded the “1993 Coach of the Year” by Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Converse, The Los Angeles Times and the Black Coaches Association; the 2000 Female Coach of the Year by the Rainbow/PUSH Organization; the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1993; the Big East Coach of the Year in 1998 and 2005. One of her most personally gratifying accolades is the 1993 Carol Eckman Award, which acknowledges the coach demonstrating spirit, courage, integrity, commitment, leadership and service to the game of women’s basketball. In 2002, the US Sports Academy created The C. Vivian Stringer Medallion Award of Sport for Women’s Coaching in her honor.

Stringer has taken her talent to an international level, serving as an assistant coach for the gold-medal 2004 US Olympic Team, and as an assistant for the bronze-medal 1980 USA Jones Cup Team in USA Basketball. Stringer also has earned extensive head-coaching experience in national programs, leading the 1982 US Olympic Festival East Team to a bronze medal, the 1984 US World University Games Team in Japan to a silver, the 1989 US World Championship Qualifying Team in Brazil to a gold, a qualification for the following year’s FIBA World Championship Team, and the 1991 Pan American Games Team in Cuba to a bronze medal.

A noted administrator, Stringer was one of the key players in the development of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. She currently is a voting member of the WBCA Board of Directors, the Amateur Basketball Association of the United States and the Nike Coaches Advisory Board. In the past, Stringer has served as a member of the Kodak All-America Selection Committee and was elected to the Women’s Sports Foundation Advisory Board.  Her new book, Standing Tall: A Memoir of Tragedy and Triumph, is a story about finding strength in the face of punishing odds.

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