Rutgers gives coach C. Vivian Stringer 5-year extension

Rutgers announced Wednesday that the school has extended the contract of women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer for five years, taking her through the 2025-26 season.

Stringer just completed her 50th season overall as a college coach and her 26th at Rutgers.

"Coach Stringer has had an immeasurable impact on the lives of the many women who have come through our program over the years," Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs said. "She is a giant in the world of college athletics and beyond. Her many accomplishments -- 1,000 wins, Final Four appearances, being inducted into several Halls of Fame, and countless awards and honors speak for themselves. She is an inspiration to all of us, and we are proud to have her build on that legacy and continue to inspire future Scarlet Knights."

The school said that from 2021-22 through 2025-26, the contract guarantees Stringer compensation of $5.5 million (beginning at $1 million in year one), plus performance incentives and retention bonuses. Stringer, who turned 73 in March, will be 78 at the end of this contract.

Stringer is 1,055-426 in her career -- fifth in victories among collegiate women's basketball coaches, and fourth among those in Division I -- and 535-291 at Rutgers. Stringer, Stanford's Tara VanDerveer (1,125) and UConn's Geno Auriemma (1,119) are the only currently active women's basketball coaches in the top 10 in career victories.

Stringer has taken three programs to the Final Four: Cheyney (1982), Iowa (1993) and Rutgers (2000, 2007). Stringer has been inducted into both the Naismith Hall of Fame and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

"Rutgers is family, and I'm proud to be given the opportunity to continue a tradition of excellence with the next generation of Scarlet Knights," Stringer said. "This is what I love to do, and I do it today with as much care and passion as when I began."

This past season, the Scarlet Knights were 14-5 overall and 10-3 in the Big Ten, and had to deal with a monthlong COVID-19 pause in which they had no games between Jan. 4-Feb. 6. A No. 6 seed in the NCAA tournament, Rutgers fell 69-66 to No. 11 BYU in the first round.

Rutgers' leading scorer this past season, guard Arella Guirantes, is expected to be a high first-round pick in Thursday's WNBA draft (ESPN, 7 p.m.) Last year in the WNBA, former Rutgers standout Epiphanny Prince was on the league champion Seattle Storm squad. Another former Scarlet Knight, Betnijah Laney, was the WNBA's most improved player of the year for Atlanta. She's now with New York

"Coach Stringer is really like a mother figure to me. She really has kind of just like shaped me into this woman that I am," Guirantes said. "Coach is engaged, and working to reach a high standard at all times. And she's not going to stop until you reach that standard. I needed someone in my corner like that.

"Having a full partnership with the coaches ... it just helps the program out tremendously. It really does."