November 9, 2021 

Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer announces extended absence

Associate Head Coach Timothy Eatman continues to lead the team this season

On Nov. 8, Rutgers University announced that Head Women’s Basketball Coach C. Vivian Stringer would take an additional leave of absence until the end of the Scarlet Knights’ 2021-2022 season. Stringer has been out since April 2021.

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Stringer, who’s 73, cited concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic for renewing her time away from the team. Associate Head Coach Timothy Eatman will continue to lead the team, beginning in today’s season opener. Eatman led the team last season and in the final games of the pre-pandemic 2018-2019 season due to Stringer’s “exhaustion.”

“This COVID situation is for real and we have to be very careful and treat it with great respect,’” Stringer told reporters in February 2021. Last season, they took a six-week hiatus due to the pandemic.

Stringer also missed this year’s Big Ten media day because she felt testing was inadequate. Stringer’s daughter is also immunocompromised.

Stringer had led the program for 27 years, and in 2021 signed a five-year $5.5 million contract lasting until 2026. Her potential payout this year is at least $1 million.

Stringer is a certified legend at Rutgers and has led the program to 17 NCAA Tournament appearances. She also won an Olympic gold medal in 2004 as the head coach of the United States Women’s Basketball Team.

The program, partly in thanks to Stringer’s coaching, boasts alumni 2021 WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper. Copper cites Stringer as an influential and humbling figure in her road to a W Championship.

Continuing without Stringer, Rutgers hopes to find success this season. Last year, under Eatman’s leadership, the Knights ended with a 14-5 season and a first-round NCAA Tournament loss to BYU.

In the offseason, the team lost four starters, including Arella Guirantes to the WNBA. Rutgers brought on six transfers and is looking to returner Tyia Singleton and newcomers Kierra Sanderlin and Osh Brown for a winning season and deep March Madness run.

Written by Gabriella Lewis

Gabriella is The Next's Atlanta Dream and SEC beat reporter. She is a Bay Area native currently studying at Emory University.

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