After 50 years in women’s basketball and 1,055 wins as head coach, the legendary C. Vivian Stringer is retiring. Effective September 1, Stringer made the announcement of her well deserved retirement in a release on Saturday.
“My life has been defined by coaching and I’ve been on this journey for over five decades. It is rare that someone gets to do what they love for this long and I have been fortunate to do that,” she said. “After recently celebrating the first women’s Final Four team at Cheyney State University, where it all started, it sat with me that I have been at this for a long time. It is important to step aside and challenge others to step up and take this game forward.
Throughout her career, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer has led her teams to 28 NCAA tournament appearances and four Final Four berths. She’s coached at Cheyney State, Iowa, and most recently, Rutgers.
“This was the hardest decision of my life, but I thank God he has allowed me to do the thing I love most,” she continued. “I am ready to start my new journey and spending more time with my family, children, and grandchildren. I am truly blessed to have had so many wonderful people in my life.”
Stringer has been on paid leave since April of 2021. Although the Rutgers team initially stated that her leave stemmed from her fear of contracting COVID-19 and transmitting it to her immunocompromised daughter, the university has never confirmed this rationale. She will be paid $872,988 as a part of her retirement agreement.
“I love Rutgers University for the incredible opportunity they offered me and the tremendous victories we achieved together,” Stringer said. “There’s always a soft spot in my heart for the University of Iowa and Dr. Christine Grant for giving me my first major coaching position, when me and my husband trusted her to move our family to Iowa. She was a strong believer in women’s rights and that’s a responsibility that I have championed and will continue to take up the fight for.”
Stringer is also responsible for producing 21 WNBA draft picks including; including Sue Wicks, Cappie Pondexter and Essence Carson, and current players Kia Vaughn and Epiphanny Prince to name a few.
“To the young ladies that I was fortunate to have coached and mentored into the women and leaders of today, keep pushing the barriers, keep pushing for your spot at the table, and always know who you are,” Stringer said.
South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who became the first Black head basketball coach to win multiple Division I national titles earlier this month, tweeted her respect and recognition of Stringer over the weekend.
“Coach Stringer thank you for elevating our game,” Staley began. “The strength of your shoulders allowed us to stand tall. We will forever keep your legacy in our hearts. Thank you Coach Stringer.”
Rutgers stated that the court at Jersey Mike’s Arena will be renamed after the coach, and that the university will immediately begin looking for Stringer’s replacement.