Head coaches bring Hall of Fame credentials into this Final Four
By Doug Feinberg
TAMPA, Fla. — Fourteen NCAA championships, four WNBA titles, three Olympic gold medals.
The women’s Final Four coaches have impressive resumes. All four — UConn’s Geno Auriemma, Tennessee’s Pat Summitt, Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer and LSU’s Van Chancellor — are in the Hall of Fame.
They have contrasting styles and personalities, whether it’s an icy stare, constant words of encouragement or riding their best players hard.
"I think the women’s Final Four right now, I think this is the greatest Final Four we’ve ever had," said Chancellor, who is making his first appearance in the Final Four. "You’ve got perennial powers with legendary coaches. Then you’ve got Stanford where the coach has won a national championship."
Summitt is the most decorated, having won seven national championships and an Olympic gold medal in 1984.
An icy stare often is painted on Summitt’s face during a game. Ask her about the accomplishments of a former player, though, and her eyes begin to sparkle and a smile breaks out on her face.
Auriemma continues to ride his best players hard to get the most out of them. No one can question the results — he’s led the Huskies to nine Final Fours and five national titles.
VanDerveer returns to the Final Four for the first time in a decade. She led Stanford to national championships in 1990 and 1992 and the U.S. to a gold medal in 1996.
After spending 19 years at Mississippi, reaching four regional finals, Chancellor will make his Final Four debut Sunday.