Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.


A Life's Passion

A Life's Passion

More From Vivian

In this video

Stringer reflects on her near-irrational passion for playing sports which evolved, unexpectedly, into a passion for coaching.

Vivian's Biography

Cause of Choice: Walk ‘n’ Roll at Children’s Specialized Hospital

Early Sports Heroines: Tennis champion Althea Gibson & Olympic track star Wilma Rudolph

Survivor: She has overcome breast cancer, her beloved husband’s early death, and her daughter’s debilitating spinal meningitis.

Most Proud Of: “Seeing young women, seventeen and eighteen year olds, evolve.”

“Work hard and don’t look for excuses, and you can achieve anything.”  This was the lesson that legendary college basketball coach, Vivian Stringer, learned from her parents while growing up in Edenborn, Pennsylvania, and one of the key lessons that she passed on to the hundreds of players that she has coached over the course of her long and illustrious career. 
Stringer began her teaching and coaching career in the early 70s at Cheyney, a small, historically-black college outside of Philadelphia.  Even before the seeds of Title IX had truly started to take root nationally, Stringer propelled her team at Cheyney to the final four in the NCAA’s first-ever National Championship for women’s basketball in 1982.  She later did the same for her teams at the University of Iowa in 1993, and at Rutgers in 2000 and 2007, earning her the distinction of being the first coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools to the national semifinals. When Don Imus made his notorious, derogatory remarks about her Rutgers team in 2007, Coach Stringer’s eloquent public response modeled dignity and poise for her players and the nation.  
The third winningest coach in women's basketball history, Stringer has received a multitude of honors over the course of her career, including being named the National Coach of the Year three times (Wade Trophy, 1982; Converse, 1988; and Naismith, 1993) by her peers, the 1993 Coach of the Year by Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Converse, the Los Angeles Times and the Black Coaches Association, and her induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.  She joined fellow esteemed basketball greats Michael Jordan, David Robinson, John Stockton and Jerry Sloan on the stage at Symphony Hall to receive basketball’s ultimate honor. One of her most personally-gratifying accolades is the 1993 Carol Eckman Award, which acknowledges the coach most demonstrating spirit, courage, integrity, commitment, leadership and service to the game of women’s basketball.

Related Videos

Nikki Henderson
Nikki Henderson
Local Food Activist

Through mentoring, tutoring and directing Foster Youth Empowerment workshops, Nikki Henderson developed her passion for youth leadership among communities of color. Combining this ...

Ophelia Dahl
Ophelia Dahl
World Health Care Advocate

Ophelia Dahl is an American health care advocate who has fought for the rights of the poor and sick for over twenty years. The daughter of two accomplished parents, author Roald Da...

Ellen Ochoa
Ellen Ochoa
Director, Johnson Space Center

Ellen Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman to go into space when she served on a mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993. After graduating with a master of science degree and...

Kathleen Hanna
Kathleen Hanna
Musician & Feminist Activist

Kathleen Hanna is a New York City-based artist, best known for her groundbreaking performances as a member of the feminist 90′s punk band, Bikini Kill, and her more recent mu...