Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Spotlight On: C. Vivian Stringer, Rutgers Women's Basketball Coach

C. Vivian Stringer, the Rutgers University women's basketball coach has been molded into a person of character by the life lessons of discipline, sacrifice and perseverance. As a coach, she truly represents being an educator first, an individual not only concerned with striving for excellence on the court but in the more important game of life itself.

Recently, a radio host contemptuously referred to the players on the Rutgers University Women's Basketball Team in a manner expressive of racism and sexism, causing an unnecessary distraction to a dynamically successful year which culminated with a second place finish in the NCAA National Tournament. Coach Stringer's response not only exemplified dignity and leadership, but included a challenge to the offending party and to all Americans:

[Reprinted from the Rutgers Scarlet Knights website –]

Statement from Rutgers Women's Basketball Head Coach
C. Vivian Stringer

"I am deeply saddened and angered by Mr. Imus' statements regarding the members of the Rutgers women's basketball team. These talented, articulate young women put forth a great deal of hard work and effort this past season to reach the nation's grandest stage - the NCAA title game.

Throughout the year, these gifted young ladies set an example for the nation that through hard work and perseverance, you can accomplish anything if you believe. Without a doubt, this past season was my most rewarding in 36 years of coaching. This young team fought through immeasurable odds to reach the highest pinnacle and play for the school's first national championship in a major sport.

To serve as a joke of Mr. Imus in such an insensitive manner creates a wedge and makes light of the efforts of these classy individuals, both as women and as women of color. It is unfortunate Mr. Imus sought to tarnish Rutgers' spirit and success. Should we not, as adults, send a message of encouragement to young people to aspire to the highest levels as my team did this season?

It is of the utmost importance to be an inspiration to young people and I truly believe my team represented Rutgers University, the state of New Jersey and NCAA student-athletes across the country in the highest manner. I am proud of these young women and strongly encourage Mr. Imus to instead read the headlines and the stories that told of our triumphs the past six months.

Thousands of alumni and fans have reached out to me the past few days to share their warm wishes and congratulations on a special year, fans of not only Rutgers University but of women's basketball. I appreciate their kindness and am proud to be associated and surrounded by ten exceptional student-athletes."

Coach Stringer's Career Highlights:
  • Only Coach in NCAA History to lead three different women's programs to the NCAA Final Four
  • Third winningest coach in women's basketball history
  • Led her teams to 19 NCAA Tournament appearances, coaching in 7 regional finals
  • Inducted into women's basketball hall of fame
  • Three national coach of the year awards
  • Sports Illustrated Coach of the Year in 1993
  • Assistant coach for the Gold Medal winning 2004 U.S. Olympic Team
Despite her husband's sudden death in 1992 and raising three children on her own, Coach Stringer has displayed courage and perseverance in attaining such success. She is and always has been a role model for her players.

And now, as the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team is in the national spotlight because of their on-court success and the unfortunate remarks of Mr. Imus, C. Vivian Stringer, by her words and example, can serve as a role model for all Americans to end the injustice of intolerance.


PBS Documentary
Scarlet Knights 2000-01 Season
Click here to visit site
2004 Tavis Smiley Interview Click here to visit site – C. Vivian Stringer Click here to visit site

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