VanDerveer Fund to help women's programs at 10 schools

The $5 million Tara VanDerveer Fund for the Advancement of Women in Coaching will provide ‘VanDerveer Fellows’ with a stipend, plus mentoring and networking opportunities to jumpstart their career. Photo by John P. Lozano/

The Women’s Sports Foundation announced Tuesday its inaugural class of grant recipients to receive support from its new Tara VanDerveer Fund for the Advancement of Women in Coaching. A total of $200,000 has been awarded to 10 universities and colleges to support a female coach on the rise, assisting with living expenses, professional development and mentorship.

The awarded schools hail from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I, II, and III, as well as schools from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The institutions will use funding to support coaching fellows across a myriad of women’s sports including field hockey (Saint Anselm College), wrestling (Life University), basketball (Carroll College, Moravian College, UC Merced), volleyball (Cal State San Bernardino, Wellesley College), softball (Villanova University, Williams College) and strength and conditioning (Bryn Mawr College).

Tara VanDerveer/ Stanford
“I’m thrilled for the Women’s Sports Foundation’s launch of this inaugural class of female coaching fellows,” Stanford’s Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer said. “I’ve seen a lot of positives over my career in advancing women in sport, but the continued decline of female coaches is concerning. This program is a powerful way we can help reverse this trend. Providing avenues for women to pursue coaching is something that is very important to me and I am deeply honored that the WSF chose to set up this fellowship program in my name. I am excited to see the impact it will have on empowering tomorrow’s leaders.”

WSF created the VanDerveer Fund to address the alarming decline of women in coaching. In the 1970-71 academic year, 90% of all head coaches for women’s college teams were women. By 2017, 45 years after the passage of Title IX, women’s share of these positions in women’s NCAA sports had dropped to 40%. While women’s representation as head and assistant coaches of women’s sports can vary by sport, this under-representation is systemic and cannot be attributed to just one sport or division.

Women of color are particularly under-represented in the coaching ranks, making up just 5.6% of head coaches of women’s sports, and only 3.5% of all head coaches, men’s and women’s teams as reported by NCAA in 2017.

“The lack of female coaches is so alarmingly evident across all levels of education – from youth sports to high school and to the collegiate and professional levels,” said WSF CEO Deborah Antoine. “A coach is often one of the most important adults in a young person’s life, outside of their family, and the lack of female coaches and mentors has far-reaching consequences for the development of girls. Our Foundation felt it imperative to address this head-on, and who better to honor than the extraordinary Tara VanDerveer.”

Inspired by VanDerveer, WSF designed the Fund to honor her legacy by providing schools with the opportunity to create fellowships for aspiring female collegiate coaches, giving them the support needed to jumpstart their careers. The fellowships will emphasize hands-on training and mentorship with established collegiate coaches as well as professional development and networking in order to identify paths to advancement.

— Staff report

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Su Hong 2.0? Former waiter reopens Chinese standby under new name in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 7 comments | 4,160 views

Living as Roommates? Not Having Much Sex?
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,677 views

What gives you hope?
By Sherry Listgarten | 4 comments | 1,493 views

Do city officials ever consider giving taxpayers a break?
By Diana Diamond | 19 comments | 1,472 views

Expert witnesses are more than experts. Plus my 7 fundamental impeachment questions
By Douglas Moran | 17 comments | 1,375 views


Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 26 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away more than $7 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. When you make a donation, every dollar is automatically doubled, and 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.