IOWA CITY, Iowa — Former University of Iowa and Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer announced on Saturday her retirement from coaching.
Stringer retires ranked fifth all-time in NCAA women’s basketball history with 1,055 career victories, 28 NCAA Tournament appearances, including reaching four Final Fours, over a legendary 50 years as a head coach at Cheyney State (1972-83), Iowa (1983-95) and Rutgers (2022-1995).
“My life has been defined by coaching and I have been on this journey for over five decades,” said Stringer. “It is rare that someone gets to do what they love for this long and I have been fortunate to do that. I love Rutgers University for the incredible opportunity they offered me and the tremendous victories we achieved together. 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 was a three-time national Coach of the year (1982, ‘88, ’93) and a two time Big Ten Coach of the year (1991, ’93). During her tenure at Iowa, she turned the Hawkeyes into a perennial contender leading Iowa to nine NCAA Tournament berths (Final Four, 1993, Elite Eight, 1987, ‘88, Sweet Sixteen, 1989), ten 20-win seasons, six Big Ten regular season championships and 11 consecutive winning seasons. She coached a national Player of the Year, three All-Americans, two Big Ten Players of the Year, eight All-Big Ten honorees and seven Academic All-Big Ten selections. Stringer and the Hawkeyes boasted a home record of 148-25 (.853), Big Ten record of 169-45 (.790), and an overall Iowa record of 269-84 (.762).
“Congratulations to Vivian on her retirement! She truly is one of the pioneers of our game. I owe her so much personally as she jumpstarted the University of Iowa basketball program and laid the foundation for our success.”P. Sue Beckwith, MD, Head Women’s Basketball Coach Lisa Bluder
Stringer was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. She became the first men’s or women’s coach to take three different schools to a Final Four (Cheney State, 1982, Iowa, 1993, Rutgers, 2000 and 2007.
Stringer left Iowa for New Jersey, serving as head coach at Rutgers since 1995. During that span, Stringer won 535 games with the Scarlet Knights while qualifying for 17 NCAA Tournaments.
“I am forever indebted to all the coaches who I worked beside,” Stringer said. “Some were former players, some were colleagues, but all were friends and family at the end of the day and were my most trusted relationships. 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.
“This was the hardest decision of my life, but I thank God he has allowed me to do the thing I love most. 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.”
Following the 2020 season, Stringer received the John R. Wooden Award “Legends of Coaching” honor based on character, success on the court, graduation rate of student-athletes in their basketball program, coaching philosophy, and identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award.
Stringer has served the game of basketball as an administrator and an international coach. She was the head coach of the World University Games Silver Medal Team in 1984 and Pan American Games Bronze Medal Team in 1991. Stringer was an assistant coach for the gold-medal 2004 U.S. Olympic Team and the bronze-medal 1980 USA Jones Cup Team.