Stanford's VanDerveer a Naismith Award finalist

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Stanford's VanDerveer a Naismith Award finalist

March 17, 2011STANFORD PAGE WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL PAGE
NCAA TOURNAMENT SCOREBOARD

STANFORD, Calif. Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Womens Basketball Tara VanDerveer was named one of four finalists for the Naismith Womens College Coach of the Year award, the Atlanta Tipoff Clubs National Voting Academy announced Thursday.

Along with VanDerveer, Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt and Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey make up the rest of the finalists.

VanDerveer, in her 25th season at the Stanford helm, has guided the Cardinal to a 29-2 overall record, the programs 20th Pac-10 regular season title (and 11th consecutive), eighth Pac-10 Tournament crown and a No. 1 seed in the Spokane Region of the NCAA Tournament so far in 2010-11.

Those achievements earned VanDerveer the John R. Wooden Pac-10 Coach of the Year award, the 11th time she has been honored with the conferences top coaching award.

Earlier this season, VanDerveer became the fifth Division I womens basketball coach to reach the 800-win mark when Stanford defeated San Francisco, 100-45, on Dec. 22.

This season VanDerveer has overseen a Stanford team that recorded a 9-2 mark in a non-conference slate that included nine opponents that ended up making the 2011 NCAA Tournament. That non-conference schedule included high-profile wins over then-No. 4 Xavier (89-52 on Dec. 28) and No. 1 Connecticut. Stanfords 71-59 victory over the Huskies on Dec. 30 snapped Connecticuts NCAA-record 90-game winning streak.

The Cardinal would then record its second straight perfect 18-0 Pac-10 season, en route to an 11th consecutive regular season title. The unbeaten run, along with two Pac-10 Tournament victories in March, extended Stanfords winning streak against Pac-10 schools to a conference-record 57 games.

Over the 18 regular-season victories against the Pac-10, VanDerveers squad won those games by an average margin of 30.4 points, setting a new Stanford record for highest scoring margin in Pac-10 play. The Cardinal also held its Pac-10 foes to a school-record low of just 50.8 points per game.

VanDerveer enters this weekends NCAA Tournament, the 24th straight trip for the Cardinal, with a career record of 822-197 in her 32 years as a head coach, and a 670-146 record in 25 years at Stanford.

The Atlanta Tipoff Club will announce its coach of the year in early April.
Courtesy Stanford Athletics media relations.

Del Rio: Raiders 'diehards' should keep homefield advantage in Oakland

Del Rio: Raiders 'diehards' should keep homefield advantage in Oakland

PHOENIX – Jack Del Rio is an East Bay guy. The Castro Valley native and Hayward High product went to Raiders games as a child, and knows too well how loud Oakland Coliseum crowds can be. He helped create that home-field advantage decades ago, and appreciates it now as Raiders head coach.

The Black Hole and surrounding supporters were felt in losing seasons but last year especially, when the Raiders went 12-4 and won several games in dramatic fashion.

While the Raiders are currently sold out of season tickets for 2017, there’s some question about how the fans will react after owners approved relocation to Las Vegas on Monday morning. The Raiders plan to play in Oakland the next two seasons – they have team options on the Oakland Coliseum for 2017 and 2018 -- and would like to play there again in 2019 until a Vegas stadium is completed in 2020.

Will there be a bunch of empty seats? Will there be protests outside the stadium? Or will the opportunity to see a team with championship aspirations keep fans coming?

That remains uncertain, though Del Rio believes Raiders fans will continue supporting their club.

“I can’t answer that definitively, but I would say I doubt it,” Del Rio said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I think we have to play well and earn it. That’s where it starts. I’m banking on us doing well. If we do well enough, people will be excited to watch us."

Raiders owner Mark Davis has offered refunds to fans jilted by the move out of town, though those requests weren’t immediately high. There’s also a waiting list to buy season tickets if they become available.

There will be fans turned off after all this, and Raiders brass don’t fault them for it.

“There is that element where a certain number where they’re disappointed to the point they won’t support us anymore. That’s understandable,” Del Rio said. “We’ll have to see what that number is. If it’s a lot, we’ll adjust that line of thinking. But I would be surprised if that’s the case.”

Raiders fans are unique, and have shown a willingness to travel for games regardless of record.

“We have some real diehards,” Del Rio said. “We draw globally. I’m sure there will be some who are angry and can’t get over it; that’s understandable. I think there will be a large contingent who are true Raiders fans, and it really doesn’t matter where they’re playing. They’re there and they’re fired up.”

Del Rio: No handbook for transition to Vegas, 'focus on the here and now'

Del Rio: No handbook for transition to Vegas, 'focus on the here and now'

PHOENIX -- Jack Del Rio’s sat down for his annual media breakfast Tuesday morning surrounded by cameras. The Raiders head coach was the main attraction at this AFC function at the NFL owners meetings, and it wasn’t because his team finished 12-4 last year.

Most of this media throng wasn’t there to ask about Derek Carr’s rehab from fibula surgery or position battles waged during the offseason program.

They wanted to know about Vegas, baby, Vegas.

The Raiders were approved to relocate there Monday and he was asked about how he’ll deal with relocation issues despite the fact Del Rio will coach the Oakland Raiders for as many as three seasons.

That limbo length is unprecedented, leaving Del Rio without a road map for how to ease concerns about the future.

“It’s a little unique,” Del Rio said. “There isn’t a handbook out there. If there is, send it to me. There isn’t one out there. We’ll draw on the experiences we have in the group, and do the best we can to put a plan together and execute it.”

Del Rio said he’ll address relocation with his players once they convene for the offseason program, and try to keep them focused on the present. He recommends discussion with anxious family members as well, and to reiterate that there’s an extended stretch where relocation is only a concept.

“If you go back to this basic principle: It’s a year-to-year league,” Del Rio said. “Heck, it’s a week-to-week league. Don’t get too far ahead of yourselves. There is a story that’s going to be written that’s going to take off.

“We have to focus on the here and now. So much of the team turns over anyway, from the coaching staffs to the roster. Let’s just focus on taking care of business.”

Del Rio brought up a good point, that NFL rosters turnover at roughly 30 percent each year and coaching staffs fluctuate, so it’s possible many may never be a Raider playing in Vegas.

Del Rio anticipates being involved in the construction and amenities of a practice facility in the Las Vegas area at some point, though a location hasn’t been chosen yet. He said the Raiders have had discussions on how to help players and staff with the eventual transition and with player outreach to mitigate issues regarding readily available vices in Sin City.

Del Rio said he would ask Raiders alumni about the move to Los Angeles in the 1980s, and use their experience to help in this upcoming move.

He answered every question on this topic Tuesday morning, but hopes to move on from it when the offseason program begins next month.

“For us, it’s really about getting back to the task of the upcoming season,” Del Rio said. “We know we’re going to have nine games not on our home turf. We have a demanding schedule, and it’s going to be imperative that, as a football team, we focus on the here and now. … We had a good, strong year last year and we’re looking forward to building on that.”

Las Vegas will remain a topic moving forward, and Del Rio will be prepared to deal with the unexpected as he sails uncharted waters.

“(After this), maybe I can write a handbook I can pass out to the next team in this spot,” Del Rio said. “For me, it’s something you have to navigate. You have to appreciate some of the things that are coming, know what they are and address them.”