We frequently forget about certain notable individuals and the top women’s basketball coaches. The best women’s basketball teams, though, have been coached by a number of outstanding athletes. The women’s basketball squad is equally as competitive as the men’s when it comes to teams. Therefore, taking charge of the team and collaborating with it will not be an easy task.
12 All-Time Greatest Women’s Basketball Coaches
The list was compiled using references from a number of reliable websites, including Ranker.com. Let’s take a brief glance at the table first, though, before getting into the specifics of the list.
|12. Gary Blair||Dallas, Texas|
|11. Andy Landers||Maryville, Tennessee|
|10. Robin Selvig||Outlook, Montana|
|9. Jody Conradt||Goldthwaite, Texas|
|8. Jim Foster||Abington Township, Pennsylvania|
|7. Muffet McGraw||Pottsville, Pennsylvania|
|6. Sylvia Hatchell||Gastonia, North Carolina|
|5. C. Vivian Stringer||Edenborn, Pennsylvania|
|4. Barbara Stevens||Southbridge, Massachusetts|
|3. Geno Auriemma||Montella, Italy|
|2. Pat Summit||Clarksville, Tennessee|
|1. Tara VanDerveer||Melrose, Massachusetts|
12) Gary Blair
Gary Blair will be the first on our list of all-time great women’s basketball coaches. The 76-year-old is the head coach of the Texas A&M Aggies women’s basketball team. In 1973, Blair served as the inaugural head coach of the women’s basketball squad at South Oak Cliff. In his seven seasons at South Oak Cliff, Gary established a state record by making five straight appearances in the state tournament.
The Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas, is where Blair first gained collegiate coaching experience. The squad won seven consecutive conference titles and made six NCAA Tournament appearances while he was their coach. Gary coached the women’s basketball team for Arkansas for 32 years while serving as the head coach at a college. Additionally, he served as Louisiana Tech’s associate head coach.
Blair is among the top 35 active NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball coaches in terms of career victories. In a similar vein, he has made the postseason 28 times while only having one losing season. He is also one of the select few coaches who have led three different institutions to national rankings and NCAA Tournament appearances. Blair received her induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
11) Andy Landers
On October 8, 1952, Andrew Grady Landers was born. He retired from coaching collegiate basketball in America on March 16, 2015. In 1975, Landers started working as a coach at Roane State Community College. He spent more than four seasons as the Community College’s head coach, with an 82-81 record.
Landers then served as the head coach of the University of Georgia’s women’s basketball team, the Georgia Lady Bulldog, from 1979 until his retirement in 2015. In his first year as the Lady Bulldogs’ coach, Landers guided his squad to a 16–12 record. In addition, he guided the group to their first of five NCAA Final Fours. Likewise, the Lady Bulldogs won the National Championship game in 1985 while he served as their head coach.
In addition, Landers received three Southeastern Conference (SEC) Coach of the Year awards and was named National Coach of the Year four times during his coaching tenure. Similar to the Lady Bull Dogs, he guided them to 21 seasons with 20 or more wins, 23 NCCAA Tournament appearances, five Final Four appearances, which is sixth among all institutions.
Landers became the fifth-fastest NCAA Division I women’s basketball head coach to accomplish the milestone when he earned his 600th career victory after just 784 games. In 2007, he was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame as the winningest college basketball coach in the state.
10) Robin Selvig
Robin Selvig comes in second on our ranking of the top women’s basketball coaches of all time. Among all the women’s basketball coaches, he is placed seventh. Graduate of University of Montana, Selvig He was a guard for the team that played men’s basketball. He began his coaching profession after earning his university degree.
He worked as a member of his university’s men’s basketball coaching staff from 1974 to 1975. Selvig then assumed the job of head coach at Plentywood High School from 1975 until 1978. Later in 1978, Selvig took over as head coach of the Lady Griz basketball team at the University of Montana. However, he held the job of women’s basketball team coach during a time when it was commonplace to witness gender prejudice in sports.
Selvig was the Lady Griz’s trailblazing coach and an advocate for the advancement of female athletes. Additionally, he developed the premier women’s basketball program west of the Rockies by recruiting female athletes from all walks of life. Selvig led the Lady Griz from 2010 to 2016. The squad won the NWBL twice, the MWAC regular season five times, and the MWAC Tournament four times when he was the head coach.
Under his leadership, the squad has won the Big Sky Tournament 17 times and the Big Sky Regular Season 18 times. Selvig has won Coach of the Year honors in the Big Sky Conference fifteen times and the MWAC five times.
9) Jody Conradt
Former women’s basketball coach Addie Jo “Jody” Conradt is better known by her stage name Jody Conradt. She coached for 38 years and was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999. At Baylor University, Conradt played collegiate basketball. Jody earned a degree in physical education from the university. Then, upon her graduation, she began working at Waco Midway High School as a coach and teacher.
Conradt completed her master’s degree at Baylor in 1969 while she was working as a teacher and coach in Waco. She then began her head coaching career for the women’s basketball team at Sam Houston State University after receiving her master’s degree.
Conradt led Sam Houston State University from 1969 to 1973 and amassed a 74-23 record during that time. She then served as a coach for the University of Texas at Arlington from 1973 to 1976. The University of Texas established a distinct women’s athletic department in 1975. Conradt was appointed as the women’s basketball team’s head coach the year after that. During that time, she attracted widespread attention.
Conradt was the ideal candidate for the position because the university had plans to elevate the women’s program to a position of prominence on a national scale. Her coaching record at the time of her retirement was 900–306. In addition, she is second all-time among NCAA Division I basketball coaches in terms of lifetime victories. Conradt not only coached basketball teams, but also volleyball and softball squads.
8) Jim Foster
A former basketball coach named Jim Foster was born on October 16, 1948. His professional career lasted for 40 years. Bishop McDevitt High School was the place where Foster began his coaching career. He worked there as the girl’s basketball team’s head coach and the boy’s basketball team’s assistant coach.
Foster then began serving as head coach at St. Joseph’s College in 1978. He served as the college’s head coach for 13 seasons, compiling a 248-126 record in the process. Foster began serving as the women’s basketball team’s head coach for Vanderbilt in 1991. In addition, he led the women’s basketball teams at Chattanooga and Ohio State.
In addition to leading women’s basketball teams at various institutions, Foster also worked nine times as the head coach and assistant coach of USA Basketball teams. Similar to this, he served as the Women’s Junior National Team Committee chairperson from 2013 to 2016. 2013 saw the induction of Foster into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Then, in 2018, he made the announcement that he was quitting coaching.
7) Muffet McGraw
Former collegiate basketball coach Muffet McGraw is on our number 7. She is the 27th coach in NCAA history with more than 500 career victories. During her first year of college at Saint Joseph’s University, McGraw participated in basketball. She also played guard for the California Dreams of the Women’s Professional Basketball League from 1979 to 1980.
The year 1977 marked the beginning of McGraw’s coaching career at Archbishop Carroll High School. She served as the high school’s head coach until 1979 before taking a position as an assistant coach at Saint Joseph’s University from 1980 to 1982.
Similar to this, she worked as Lehigh University’s head coach from 1982 to 1987. Then, starting in 1987, McGraw led the Notre Dame women’s basketball team for more than 32 seasons. Throughout her coaching career, she guided the team to nine Final Fours and two National Championship games (2001 and 2018).
The Notre Dame women’s basketball team also participated in seven championship games under her leadership. 2020 will mark McGraw’s retirement, he said. However, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2011) as well as the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame prior to her retirement (2017).
6) Sylvia Hatchell
On our sixth list, we have another previous coach of the American women’s basketball team. Hatchell, who is 70 years old, began her coaching career with the junior high girls’ basketball team. She was born Sylvia Rhyne Hatchell. She served as the junior varsity basketball coach at the University of Tennessee from 1974 to 1975. Then Hatchell spent eleven seasons as Francis Marion University’s head coach.
She accepted the position of head coach for the Tar Heels women’s basketball team at the University of North Carolina in 1986. Hatchell then attracted national notice as she led the Tar Heels to become one of the top basketball teams in the country. Hatchell’s career highlights include the NCAA Division I Championship, three appearances in the NCAA Division I Final Four, and the NAIA title.
Similarly, under her leadership, the Tar Heels triumphed in the ACC Tournament eight times and the regular-season title four times. In 1994 and 2006, Hatchell also received the National Coach of the Year award. She also won the ACC Coach of the Year award three times.
In 2004 she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Hatchell and three assistants were put on administrative leave on April 2, 2019, as a result of racially offensive remarks and other issues. Then, on April 18, 2019, she announced her resignation as North Carolina’s head coach.
5) C.Vivian Stringer
Older, 74 The women’s basketball team at Rutgers University is coached by Charlaine Vivian Stringer. She has one of the most impressive records in women’s basketball history. The Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania awarded Stringer a degree. While at the university, she was a dour sport athlete playing basketball, volleyball, softball, and field hockey.
In 1972, Stringer started her coaching career at Cheyney State. She was with the university until 1983, and then the same year, she started as the coach for the women’s basketball team of the University of Iowa. Rutgers women’s basketball head coach.. Stringer filled the head coach post for Rutgers University’s women’s basketball club Scarlet Knights.
Moreover, she is the first coach in NCAA history to lead three distinct women’s programs, Rutgers (2000, 2007), University of Iowa (1993), and Cheyney State (1982), to the NCAA Final Four. In 1993, Stringer was selected the Naismith College Coach of the Year. Later in 2001, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, and in 2009, Vivian was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
4) Barbara Stevens
The next on our list of the top women’s basketball coaches of all time is Barbara Stevens. Born on September 20, 1954, Stevens played basketball in her undergraduate days before becoming a coach herself. During her high school and college days, gender discrimination in the athletics field was the standard. Stevens herself remarked about her experience.
“Those of us who were interested in sports did participate, but in front of very few people and with very little fanfare and very little notice.” Despite this, she participated on the school basketball team as a point guard. Stevens also played softball for two years and tennis for another two and was captain of the basketball and tennis team. At Clark University, Stevens began her coaching career as an assistant coach in 1976.
She contributed to the women’s basketball team at the university winning the MAIAW Division III State Championship. She then took over as Clark University’s head coach from 1977 until 1983. Stevens also assumed the role of head coach for the women’s basketball teams at the University of Massachusetts and Bently University.
In 2006, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2018, she became the fifth coach in women’s basketball to achieve the milestone of 1,000 victories. Stevens received a similar honor in 2020 when he was admitted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
3) Geno Auriemma
Geno Auriemma, a college basketball coach in the United States who is of Italian descent, is third on our list of the top women’s basketball coaches. Auriemma, who is currently in charge of the women’s basketball team at the University of Connecticut Huskies, was born on March 23, 1954, in Italy. The West Chester University of Pennsylvania awarded him a degree.
After graduating in 1978, Saint Joseph’s University hired Auriemma as an assistant coach. Additionally, he served as an assistant coach for the women’s basketball teams of the University of Virginia and Bishop Kenrick High School. In 1985, Auriemma began serving as the head coach of the UConn Huskies, the women’s basketball team of the University of Connecticut. The UConn Huskies have advanced to eleven NCAA Division I National Championship games while he has been their coach.
From 2009 to 2016, Auriemma served as the head coach of the USA women’s national basketball team in addition to guiding the collegiate women’s basketball team. The squad won the World Championships under his direction in 2010 and 2014. The group had similar success at the Summer Olympics in 2012 and 2016. Auriemma also has a large list of honors and achievements to her name.
He received awards such as eight Naismith Coach of the Year nominations, seven WBCA National Coach of the Year nominations, etc. In addition to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Geno was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
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2) Pat Summitt
She was an American women’s collegiate basketball coach whose professional career ran from 1974 to 2012. Her birth name was Patricia Susan Summitt. She played college basketball before switching to coaching. At the 1976 Summer Olympics’ first women’s competition, Summitt served as co-captain of the American women’s basketball team. During the competition, the team took home the silver medal.
She served as the University of Tennessee’s women’s college basketball team’s head coach. The popularity of women’s college basketball had only begun to grow when Summitt began her coaching career in 1974. She served as the team’s head coach at the Summer Olympics’ women’s basketball competition in 1984. The squad won a gold medal under her leadership.
In addition to this outstanding accomplishment, Summitt has also won eight NCAA Division I Tournaments and eighteen NCAA Regional-Final Fours. She also didn’t lose a single season while serving as a coach for Tennessee University, nor did she miss the NCAA Tournament.
In addition, Summitt was ranked ninth on the Sporting News’ list of the 50 greatest coaches in sports history in 2009. She was the only woman to appear on the list, in fact. Summitt was named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century in 2000 after being inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999. Sadly, on June 20, 2016, this woman gem died away at the age of 64.
1) Tara VanDerveer
Tara VanDerveer is ranked first on our list of all-time great women’s basketball coaches. The women’s basketball team at Stanford University is now led by 69-year-old VanDerveer. VanDerveer began participating in basketball at a young age, along with other sports. However, her first high school didn’t have any athletic teams. Later, she transferred to Buffalo Seminary, an all-girls institution, where she played basketball during her junior year.
Similar to VanDerveer, who played guard, VanDerveer played basketball in college. She later changed schools and joined Indiana University Bloomington, where she supported her team as they advanced to the AIAW championship Final Four. Beginning in 1978, VanDerveer led the women’s basketball team at the University of Idaho until 1980. She served as the women’s basketball team’s head coach at Ohio State University from 1980 to 1985.
She then began leading the Stanford Cardinal, the women’s basketball team of Stanford University, in 1985. The Standford Cardinal have qualified for all three NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Championships under VanDerveer’s leadership in 1990, 1992, and 2021.
She also assumed the position of head coach of the United States national team for the 1996 Olympics. She is one of the nine coaches in NCAA Women’s Basketball with more than 900 victories. In 2002, VanDerveer became a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2011, she also received induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.