As I sat down to write this, I thought, "Didn't we just do 700?" Yep, it was just 2007, but you can move up the ladder quickly when you average 32 wins over the last three years. That is what Coach Vanderveer and her troops have done to put her on the threshold of her 800th win.
The numbers are easy.
Career Milestone Wins
1 Idaho Dec. 1,1978 Northern Montana 70-68
100 Ohio State 1982-83 (date N/A) Michigan 74-60
200 Stanford Feb. 12, 1988 Washington 70-66
300 Stanford Dec. 20, 1991 Southern Illinois 82-63
400 Stanford March 16, 1995 UC Irvine (NCAA) 88-55
500 Stanford Nov. 26, 2000 Pacific 73-65
600 Stanford March 20, 2004 Missouri 68-44
700 Stanford December 28, 2007 Washington State 105-47
And so are the highlights.
Two NCAA Championships
Head Coach of the 1996 Gold Medal winning USA Olympic Team
Women's Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in 2002
Eight trips to the Final Four
18 Pac-10 Titles
18 Pac-10 Titles
Three-time NCAA Coach of the Year
10 time PAC-10 Coach of the Year
As impressive as all of this is, that is not the measure of Coach VanDerveer. Put the records and the accolades aside for a minute and it is still easy to see what Tara has contributed to not only the world of Women's Basketball, but to the whole world in general.
Women's Basketball will be forever changed by her coaching strategies and the thriving Coaching Tree that grows with each year. Five former players and seven former assistants have been head coaches at the NCAA or WNBA level. Throw in a whole bunch of former players who are currently assistants and you know that Tree will continue to sprout.
As for the world in general, a quick look at the list of former players tells the story--doctors, lawyers, teachers, business professionals, engineers, moms, consultants, analysts, nurses, trainers, Peace Corps members. It is not a stretch to say that the players that Tara has coached are making a big difference in the world.
Because, at heart, Tara is a teacher, and we all know that nothing makes her happier than seeing a player work hard to progress and make the full use of their potential. It may be that they find that full potential not as a player, but as a human being. For Tara, that is the true definintion of a Win.
So as our Coach gets ready to join the elite 800 Club, along with Pat Summitt, Jody Conradt, C. Vivian Stringer and Sylvia Hatchell, let's remember to celebrate Tara the Mentor as well as Tara the Coach. Nothing would make her happier.