By Randy Weiss, PresidioSports.com
Rutgers University coach and 2009 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, C. Vivian Stringer, was in Santa Barbara on Monday to promote UCSB women's basketball –- a golf fundraiser followed by a book signing, dinner and presentation — all packaged as 'Links and a Legend.'
The event was held at Montecito Country Club.
Approaching 900 victories (885-318 .735) over 41 seasons — Stringer is the NCAA's tenth winningest basketball coach in women's basketball history.
Those attending had the opportunity to meet the famed coach and receive a personally signed copy of her 2008 memoir, "Standing Tall."
Immediately prior to coming west before last season, UCSB Head Women's Coach Carlene Mitchell served as a Rutgers University top assistant under Stringer for 10 years — the last few as associate head coach.
"I'm happy for her success out here and I know what a tough situation that is to walk into, where the expectations are so high. But, I really miss her," Stringer shared with the 150 in the audience during her talk.
Mitchell coached the Gauchos to the Big West Championship in only her first season.
They were rewarded with a trip to 'The Big Dance' – a date with the nation's top player, Brittney Griner and her top-ranked Baylor team, the ultimate NCAA Champs.
"And, no – we'll never play each other," Stringer added about Mitchell. "It would be too painful for me, personally. I had to play one of my former assistants before – it was the worst game of my life!"
Stringer, whose talk covered a range of topics including personal insights of her youth and basketball coaching career and the importance and impact of equal opportunities for women in sports and life — normally commands a five-figure speaking fee.
"Tonight, she did it for a hug," said Mitchell, who also unveiled her 2012-13 Gaucho team and coaching staff.
They hoped to raise $40,000 at the event to cover the team's expanded travel costs.