Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer receives new 3-year deal

In this March 5 file photo, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer waves the net after finishing cutting it down after her team beat Oregon State in the Pac-12 Conference championship game in Seattle. 

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Tara VanDerveer has a new three-year contract extension that takes the Hall of Fame Stanford coach through the 2019-20 season.

She discussed her new deal — not formally announced by the school and reached in July — over lunch during Pac-12 media day Wednesday.

“I have the greatest life and I just want to keep enjoying the life I have and sharing it,” VanDerveer said. “I always meet so many great people at Stanford, whoever it is.”

In February, VanDerveer became just the third Division I coach to reach 1,000 wins, joining the late Pat Summitt as the only women’s coaches in the elite club along with Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.

With NCAA titles in 1990 and ‘92, an Olympic gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games and 12 Final Four berths — including five straight from 2008-2012 — VanDerveer has been an influential presence in women’s basketball for decades on the court and far beyond it as a positive influence and mentor to many.

“I like being the Stanford coach,” she said. “I retired once already. When I had to leave for the Olympics, it hit me that you’re just done. But the train keeps going down the tracks. Once you get off you’re off. And I was able to get off and be able to get back on, because it was just during that one year, and I missed it during that one year.”

The 64-year-old VanDerveer still loves the daily grind of coaching and the new challenges each roster and season present. Her Cardinal reached the Final Four last season and VanDerveer has a 1,021-231 career record.

“That’s awesome. I love her,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said of VanDerveer’s contract. “We all respect her so much and her voice is so strong.”

VanDerveer doesn’t have the same recruiting demands as many of her colleagues at public universities, allowing her to waterski, sail, enjoy her dogs, go out on her two boats and even take a bike trip through Croatia.

“I think I also have a different summer than a lot of coaches,” she said.

Letting her recruits know she will be around for the near future is important to VanDerveer for the long-term health of Stanford’s storied program.

“I’m really excited about our team this year. We’re really excited about the future of Stanford basketball. We have a great thing going,” VanDerveer said. “I’m very enthusiastic about our program, our team, the staff. Everything is exciting.”

This will be her 39th season as a head coach and 32nd at Stanford, where athletic director Bernard Muir had always said she had an “indefinite contract.”

“It’s always good to have it in writing though, right?” she said.

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