Lynne Roberts: Tara Is The Pioneer For All Of Us

Jan 19, 2023, 11:07 AM | Updated: 11:12 am

SALT LAKE CITY- Utah women’s hoops will be hitting the road this weekend to take on the Bay Area schools starting with No. 4 ranked Stanford and their legendary coach, Tara VanDerveer.

VanDerveer is a name that garners respect across all of college basketball because of her fervor and determination to pave a way in basketball despite coming up in a time when options were limited for women.

Stanford has been a model of success in women’s college hoops not only for the Pac-12, but on the national front as well and it’s largely thanks to Vanderveer’s dominate 38-year guidance of the program. However, as Utah head coach Lynne Roberts noted, despite VanDerveer’s loyalty to the Cardinal, she is the pioneer of the sport that any woman can go to for advice. Just don’t expect her to take it easy on you on game day.

Tara VanDerVeer’s Impact On Women’s Basketball

The No. 8 Utes will be taking on the Cardinal on Friday with a 7:00 p.m. MT tip-off. The Top-10 matchup has all the makings of being another great game, and so much of that has to do with the respect Roberts has for VanDerVeer’s impact on women’s basketball and helping her get Utah on track.

“I think she is the pioneer for all of us,” Roberts said. “I could go on and on for the amount of respect I have for her. The thing I have always said about Tara that separates her- obviously she’s the winningest coach in college basketball so I don’t need to talk about that. She’s all about the Pac-12 being good. I can call her and ask for the truth and she’ll help me. She’s willing to help younger coaches, not that I’m young, newer coaches maybe, be successful.”

Now, like any competitive person, there are some limits to when and where that help, and guidance will take place. Roberts knows VanDerVeer will be ready to give the Utes her best shot on Friday night but appreciates her willingness to be of service when a game isn’t on the line.


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“She wants to kick your tail when they play you and she’ll do whatever she can to pour it on, but the other 363 days of the year she’s going to be an ally and help you with your program,” Roberts continued. “Give you advice when you ask for it. I’m so impressed with her that way.”

In many areas and industries there is often a pervasive idea that there can only be one “elite” woman and sports is certainly no different. There have been times when pettiness and a need to “keep the crown for yourself” has won over as women have entered the sports industry more and more, but not with VanDerVeer. That willingness to share information and help everyone rise up is what Roberts thinks really separates VanDerVeer from just being a really good coach to a legendary one.

“I think that is what separates her,” Roberts said. “I think the other piece of it is to- I mean, if I don’t think I can learn so much from her then I’m an idiot. I think you have to have the humility that this woman has done it at the highest level for so many years in this league. She’s the best resource we all have and that’s what is so amazing about her is she is willing to give it. She’s just an incredible coach. I think what separates them on the court is how hard her team plays. Obviously, yes, they have talent, but they play so dang hard. Just an incredibly efficient ball club.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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Lynne Roberts: Tara Is The Pioneer For All Of Us