Tara VanDerveer, who was head coach of the historic 1995-96 USA Women's National Team and U.S. Olympic Team that logged an incredible 60-0 record and won gold in dominating fashion at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, became with Stanford’s victory over University of the Pacific on Dec. 15, 2020, the winningest coach in women’s college basketball history with 1,099 wins, edging past Pat Summit’s 1,098 victories.
Now in her 42nd season as an NCAA women’s basketball head coach, Tara VanDerveer owns a career head-coaching record of 1,099-253 (.813 winning percentage) as of Dec. 15, 2020. She has been at Stanford for 35 seasons (1985-86 to present), and prior to that, she was at the University of Idaho for two seasons (1978-79 to 1979-80) and Ohio State University for five seasons (1980-81 to 1984-85).
At Stanford, Tara VanDerveer won NCAA championships in 1990 and 1992, and she has led the Cardinal to 12 NCAA Final Four appearances, 22 Pacific-12 Conference regular-season titles and 13 Pac-12 Tournament championships.
Tara VanDerveer eight times served as a USA Basketball head coach, beginning in 1986 and concluding with a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games. Overall, she led USA teams to four gold medals, one bronze medal and an 88-8 record (.917 winning percentage) as a USA head coach.
Tara VanDerveer (back row, right) first coached with USA Basketball at the 1986 U.S. Olympic Festival.
In 1990, Tara VanDerveer (back row, left) led a USA Select Team to a 2-3 record against teams in Yugoslavia and USSR. The 1990 squad was the first of six USA teams VanDerveer would coach with Dawn Staley (front row, fourth from left) on the roster.
At the 1991 World University Games in Sheffield, England, Tara VanDerveer (bottom, left) led the USA to an 8-0 record and the gold medal. The 1991 team owns U.S. women’s World University Games single-game records for field goals attempted (98 vs. Japan) and steals (52 vs. Ireland); and competition records for points (840), points averaged (105.0), field goals made (317) and attempted (690), 3-pointers made (60) and attempted (146), free throws made (146) and attempted (199) and rebounds (377).
In 1993, Tara VanDerveer (back row, second from left) guided the USA to a 6-1 record and gold medal at the COPABA World Cup Qualifying tournament. The gold-medal finish qualified the USA for the 1994 FIBA World Cup, and VanDerveer returned to head up the 1994 USA World Cup Team.
Tara VanDerveer (right) and the USA finished with a 7-1 record and claimed the bronze medal at the 1994 FIBA World Cup in Sydney, Australia. The 1994 team owns USA World Cup single-game records for field goals made (47 vs. South Korea), field goals attempted (88 vs. Brazil), 3-pointers made (26 vs. Brazil) and is tied for most assists (32 vs. South Korea); and U.S. competition records for points averaged (99.1 ppg.), field goal percentage (.557) and 3-point percentage (.451)
At the 1994 Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tara VanDerveer (back row, second from right) guided the USA to a 4-0 record and gold medal. The USA topped opponents by an average of 31.3 points per game, and the 1994 team owns USA women’s event records for single-game field goals made (42 vs. China), 3-pointers attempted (19 vs. China), free throws attempted (41 vs. Russia) and steals (22 vs. Italy); and competition records for 3-pointers made (22) and attempted (55).
Tara VanDerveer served as head coach of the historic 1995-96 USA Women’s National Team that compiled a 52-0 record while playing in seven countries over 10 months and traveling more than 100,000 miles. VanDerveer took a one-year sabatical from her Stanford University team to lead the USA squad. She authored Shooting From the Outside, which chronicled the USA's 1995-96 campaign in September 1997.
Tara VanDerveer guided the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team to a perfect, 8-0 record and the gold medal in Atlanta. The U.S. women averaged a record 25,320 fans per game during the Olympics, including 32,987 spectators for the gold medal game, and set a U.S. women's Olympic single-game record for field goal percentage (.662 vs. Brazil) and U.S. women's competition records for points (819), points averaged (102.4 ppg.) and free throws made (142) and attempted (212).
Pictured here on its 20-year anniversary with 10 of 12 team members and head coach Tara VanDerveer (center), the 1995-96 USA Women's National Team/U.S. Olympic Team was named the 1996 USA Basketball Team of the Year and was recognized by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee as the 1996 Team of the Year. Additionally, VanDerveer was named the 1996 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year.
Tara VanDerveer was named to the Women’s Sports Foundation International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1998; inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002; and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.
Among her numerous coaching awards, Tara VanDerveer (right) has been honored as the 1988, 1989, 1990 and 2011 Naismith National Coach of the Year; the 1989 and 2011 WBCA National Coach of the Year; the 2011 AP College Basketball Coach of the Year; the 1990 USBWA Coach of the Year; the 1995 United States Sports Academy’s Amos Alonzo Staff Coaching Award; the 2018 Carol Eckman Award winner; and she is a 15-time Pacific-12 Conference Coach of the Year. She is pictured here with Carla McGee ahead of the 1996 Olympic Games.
Celebrating Tara VanDerveer
Through the Years: Brittney Griner