Top 5 Women’s College Basketball Coaches

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Women’s college basketball is one of the few sports that’s dominated by, well, women – especially on the coaching side. Since the game hit its stride in the late 1970s, the sport has produced some of the greatest coaches ever in any sport, and given women the opportunity to show that they can play and coach just like the guys. Just take a look at the top 10 all time in wins and you’ll see several women with more than 700. One of the few problems with the women’s game is that there isn’t very much parity. Only a handful of coaches have won national championships, and even fewer have won multiple national championships. Top 5 takes a look at the standouts among the greatest women’s college basketball coaches.

5 C. Vivian Stringer – Cheyney State College; Iowa; Rutgers (1972 – Present)

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Charlaine Vivian Stringer (so that’s what the C stands for) is not only one of the game’s greatest and most successful coaches in the history of the women’s college game, she is also the most successful African-American women’s college basketball coach (men or women) in history. In 2009 Springer was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in the same class as Michael Jordan, John Stockton, and David Robinson. The three-time National Coach of the Year has turned Rutgers into a power, but what has eluded Springer is a national championship, which can be a daunting task when you play in the same conference as Auriemma and Connecticut.

4 Tara VanDerveer – Idaho; Ohio State; Stanford (1978 – Present)

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After slumming it in such places as Idaho and Ohio, VanDerveer made her way to Northern California in 1985 and the Harvard of the West, Stanford, where she won two Division I national championships in 1990 and 1992. In 1995 she stepped away for a year to coach the United States Olympic team. All she did with them was lead the U.S. to a 52-0 pre-Olympic record and the gold medal in Atlanta. Her 1996 Olympic team is regarded as one of the best ever. She then returned to Stanford to win a boatload more conference titles. She is one of seven coaches with 800-plus wins, has won three National Coach of the Year Awards, and is currently waiting for calls from a handful of hall of fames.

3 Jody Conradt – Sam Houston State; Texas-Arlington; Texas (1969 – 2007)

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Before Summitt there was Conradt, who became the first women’s coach to win 600 games. Conradt is second all-time in wins with 900, and just 307 losses. She was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998. Conradt has also been inducted into just about every Texas sports hall of fame there is, and is a six-time National Coach of the Year. While Summitt was just getting started with her career, Conradt managed to sneak in and win a national championship with the Texas Longhorns in 1986.

2 Geno Auriemma – Connecticut (1985 – Present)

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Someone had to give the great Pat Summitt a run for her money, so it might as well be a guy, right? Auriemma is second behind Summitt in national championships (that may not last too much longer) and first in undefeated seasons with eight, including a 90-game winning streak from 2009 to 2011. Auriemma’s Lady Huskies have been the most dominant women’s or men’s basketball team since 1994-1995 when they won their first title and completed their first undefeated season. Auriemma and the Lady Huskies hold four of the six undefeated seasons in the history of Division I women’s college basketball. He is a six time National Coach of the Year. Being a dude, Auriemma was inducted into both the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. But if you ask Auriemma, he’ll probably tell you that his greatest honor was being inducted into the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

1 Pat Summitt – Tennessee (1974 – 2012)

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Many would argue that Summitt isn’t just the greatest women’s college basketball coach of all time, but the greatest college basketball coach of all time period. Summitt, who coached all of her 39 years at the University of Tennessee, never missed the NCAA tournament, never had a losing season, and is the only women’s coach in Division I history to win more than 1,000 games. After retiring in 2010, Summitt finished with a record of 1,098-208 for one of the greatest winning percentages ever. Her Lady Volunteers won eight NCAA Division I titles, including an undefeated championship season in 1997-98. The number of awards she’s won is just insane. For starters, she is a seven-time National Coach of the Year. She was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. The Sporting News lists Summitt as the only woman at number 11 on the 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time in all sports. In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded Summitt the President Medal of Freedom. In 2000 she was named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century.


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