Talented group of coaches lead women’s teams


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Geno Auriemma, Tara VanDerveer, Muffet McGraw and Brenda Frese have all won national championships, each using their own style to get the most out of their teams.

Now, they all hope they can coax two more victories out of their squads to win another title.

"These four are the gold standard for coaches," Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said. "They are different in personality, but have the common ground of success."

Both Auriemma and VanDerveer are enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. All four have been honored as the AP Coach of the Year. This year’s Final Four marks one of the rare times that all four coaches have won national championships.

Auriemma leads the way with eight titles and can break a tie with Pat Summitt for most all-time if the Huskies can repeat as champions. Despite winning 44 straight games by mostly astronomical margins, Auriemma never lets his Huskies get too full of themselves.

VanDerveer takes a more cerebral approach with her team. She’s won two national championships, been to the Final Four in six of the past seven seasons and won the 900th game of her career early this season.

"Tara teaches you how to watch film, to make sure you pay attention to details," South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. "To be disciplined in what you’re doing. She taught me how to do that."

McGraw, who a national championship in 2001, has guided the Irish to four straight Final Fours. She’s led the team to unprecedented heights this season with a 36-0 record -- the first undefeated season in school history.

McBride said that even when the team plays board games or word games against each other, McGraw has that competitive fire.


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