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Rutgers Hall of Famer Stringer returns from leave

Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer, who left the Rutgers program last February for an unspecified health-related issue, has returned to the Scarlet Knights and "looks great," athletic director Pat Hobbs said Thursday.

The 71-year-old Stringer, who left with two weeks remaining in the regular season, originally said she'd return for the postseason. However, she stayed on leave, on advice from doctors, while assistant Tim Eatman served as acting coach for the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.

"She's back," Hobbs told NJ Advance Media on Thursday. "She looks great. ... There's no one more looking forward to walking into the RWJ Barnabas Health Athletic Performance Center than C. Vivian Stringer.''

Stringer, who will earn $875,000, will be entering her 25th season at Rutgers and 49th overall as a coach. She has a career mark of 1018-410 in 48 seasons, making her the sixth-winningest coach in women's basketball, and is 498-275 at Rutgers. She picked up win No. 1,000 on Nov. 13, becoming just the fifth Division I women's coach -- and first African-American coach -- to achieve the milestone and sixth overall.

"It's a good time for her to transition back in,'' Hobbs said. "She's raring to go.''

Her contract runs through the 2020-21 season.

She is the only women's coach to take three different teams to the Final Four: Cheney State in 1982, Iowa in 1993 and Rutgers in 2000 and '07. Her teams have appeared in 26 of the 36 NCAA tournaments and made 10 regional finals.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.