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A Legend Wins No. 800
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
Eight hundred wins. Think about how many that is. A college basketball team that records 25 victories in a season is considered very successful. Do that 30 times and you’re still 50 shy of 800.
On December 19, Bentley’s Barbara Stevens became the fifth coach in NCAA women’s basketball history to reach the 800-win mark, when the Lady Falcons prevailed 93-60 over C.W. Post. She joins Pat Summitt (Tennessee), Jody Conradt (Texas), C. Vivian Stringer (Rutgers) and Sylvia Hatchell (North Carolina) in that elite group of coaches. Only Summitt hit 800 in fewer games than Stevens, who did so in 1,036 contests.
A number of Falcon alumnae were on hand for the milestone victory, and the coach deflected the attention from herself to them.
“This day belongs to the former players, who worked their tails off just as hard as the current ones,” Stevens told the Waltham News Tribune. “It’s always been a group effort here. We’ve never built up individual accomplishments. Everything is the result of the team and the people you are with. Today is no different.”
Current team members such as co-captain Kim Brennan '11 are quick to return the praise. The four-year starting guard calls Stevens “very modest and humble.”
“She never lets anything like this get in the way of our team success,” observes Brennan. “She never thinks about herself; she thinks about us first.”
Team forward Elise Caira ’11 was thrilled to share the special occasion, which saw Stevens receive a standing ovation and a confetti shower from the Gatorade bucket immediately after the final buzzer.
“Being part of it and having the alumnae here for her was one of the best experiences of my life,” says Caira. “I’m going to remember this one forever.”
Stevens coached at Clark University and UMass before arriving in Waltham in 1986. Since then, her Bentley teams have enjoyed remarkable success, averaging more than 26 wins a season. The Falcons have reached the NCAA Division II playoffs in 24 of the past 25 years.
The coach may pass credit to her players, but let there be no doubt: Barbara Stevens is a winner. Bentley University and women’s college basketball are better because of this classy coach.