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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 12/7/2023, Last updated: 12/8/2023
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C. Vivian Stringer Named 2024 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Basketball Award Winner

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ROSEMONT, Ill. – Former Rutgers University head coach C. Vivian Stringer has been named a Naismith Award honoree for her lifetime contribution to the game of basketball, the Atlanta Tipoff Club (ATOC) announced Thursday.  Stringer, the 1993 Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year while at the University of Iowa, was selected by the ATOC’s Board of Directors and will be honored during the 2024 college basketball season.

The second full-time head coach in Rutgers women's basketball history, Stringer had served at the helm of the Scarlet Knights from 1995 to 2022, the longest tenured coach at the time of her retirement. During that span, Stringer won 535 games with the Scarlet Knights while qualifying for 17 NCAA Tournaments, including 10 consecutively from 2003 to 2012. Stringer led Rutgers to a pair of Final Four appearances in 2000 and 2007, with the latter culminating in its first NCAA Championship Game. In 2000, she became the first men's or women's basketball coach to guide three different intercollegiate programs to the Final Four after playing in the first NCAA Championship Game with Cheyney State in 1992 and leading Iowa to the national semifinals in 1993.

Stringer surpassed the monumental 1,000 career victory milestone in November 2018. She became the fifth NCAA Division I women's basketball coach to reach 1,000 career wins and was the first African-American coach to reach the milestone. She retired ranked fifth all-time in NCAA women's basketball history with 1,055 career victories. In 2019-20, Stringer passed the late, great Pat Summitt and became the NCAA record holder with 37 seasons of 20 or more victories. Following that season, she 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 coach and adminstrator. In March 2021, Stringer was honored in the Sports Business Journal as a Leader in Diversity and Inclusive Hiring. Stringer also recruited, developed, and coached 21 student-athletes who would be selected in the WNBA Draft, along with others who played professionally overseas. An assistant coach for the gold-medal 2004 U.S. Olympic Team, her first USA Basketball experience came as an assistant for the bronze-medal 1980 USA Jones Cup Team. Stringer was also one of the key players in the development of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, created in 2007. 

In addition to her Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame induction in 2009 and Women's Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement in 2001, Stringer entered another elite club with a 2020 induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.