Stringer Stands Tall

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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Coach Stringer and her Rutgers team. Credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

C. Vivian Stringer has long been known as one of the best coaches in women's college basketball ever. But when Don Imus made his now-infamous comment about her winning Rutgers squad last year, she proved she's more than a good coach — she's a great leader and person. Her response was measured, passionate, and elegant, a far cry from the shock-jock's verbal bomb. If there's anything good to be said about the entire fiasco, it's that it brought Coach Stringer to the national stage, and she joins us today to talk about her remarkably trying life. Leave questions and comments here.

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Hello,

I'm a recent and proud Rutgers graduate who has closely followed the team for many years. Last year was my senior year, and it was inspiring watching Coach Stringer and the team accomplish what they did and overcome what they did. At the same time, it was upsetting to me that the Rutgers women became so well known not because of their talents but because of what a bigot said of them. Can you, Coach Stringer, comment on whether you think that this event could possibly be beneficial to women's sports simply by way of increased notice? Thank you! Rutgers loves you!

Sent by Graelyn Brashear | 3:29 PM | 3-13-2008

It is great that the epic non-news event of last year propelled Vivian Stringer into the lime light. But lets quit pretending that what Don Imus's comments were so bad. Far worse is done 1000 times a day in rap music and no one blinks an eye. Todays show might be the only real news to come out of this bogus fiasco.

Sent by Eliki Thompson | 3:37 PM | 3-13-2008

Every day in my life, I search for something special, some bit of humanity that encourages me. Today, listening to Vivian on NPR, I got that. I would love to speak to Vivian directly. I'm an old guy, a guy who competed in sports my whole life. I excelled in what I did. I coached little league and soccer for 15 years, coaching both my daughters and my son. Vivian is an inspiration. She manifests everything I tried to do in coaching. She has recognized that's it not about winning, but rather building the character of those lucky women who had her for a coach. It's clear that Don Imus couldn't affect the bond she had created with her team. Her women loved her, saw what she was trying to do, and stood by her. She stood by them also. That's what good coach's do. Imus will live and die, but Vivian will go on in the memories of her team's fans in Iowa, and certainly in her fans in New Jersey. I must say that I resented the fact that she and her team took so much pleasure in whaling on my alma mater, Villanova. But, when all was said and done, and our crying was over, we at Villanova knew that we lost to real class, a team that manifests the character and values of their coach. What more could you want? My daughters were competitive, and all conference in their sports in high school. I wish they could have had the experience in college of playing for, and with, the greatest coach I've ever seen. Vivian, I admire and cherish you for what you've brought to college sports. I admire and cherish you for the values you put forth to these young women. My condolences, for sure, for the loss of your husband. I get teary when you talk about him. He was a lucky man, and died a happy man because he had you in his life. Thank you for your story. It gives us all something to strive for. And good luck in coaching.

Best regards,
Michael

Sent by Michael Leach | 3:49 PM | 3-13-2008

When I saw the headline I thought it was about Stringer Bell. But I guess there's no need to stretch out the demise of The Wire any further.

Sent by andy carvin, npr | 4:01 PM | 3-13-2008

I loved the night that I got to see Rutgers tangle with the Lady Vols. Both teams are comprised of amazing athletes, and have great coaches. My hat's off to Vivian for her motivational and technical skills.

But, that's not why I came here to comment. I just listened to Vivian's interview, and I heard a lot... and awful lot... of spirituality in her comments. I'm wondering if such a coach at a state school could tolerate an atheist player, or if an atheist player would feel welcome on her team. I'm an atheist, and I felt uncomfortable just listening to her; would a team member feel excluded by this constant reference to spirituality? Obviously, she has had some tragic circumstances in her life, and her spirituality is the way she deals with it, but is it a requirement for her team?

Sent by Bill Bright | 4:40 PM | 3-13-2008