In the history of NCAA women's basketball, only six coaches have amassed at least 1,000 career victories, an elite group that includes Bentley University's Hall of Fame coach, Barbara Stevens.
Stevens, the only non-Division I coach in that exclusive club and a 2019 finalist for the 2019 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction class, joined the late Pat Summitt (Tennessee), Tara VanDerveer (Stanford), Geno Auriemma (Connecticut) and Sylvia Hatchell (North Carolina) in the 1,000-win club when her team dispatched Adelphi University, 78-66, on Jan. 17, 2018. Stevens finished the 2018-19 season fourth all-time in career victories with a 42-year record of 1039-282.
The pinnacle of Stevens' coaching career came March 28, 2014 when her 28th Bentley team capped off a perfect season, 35-0, with a come-from-behind 73-65 win over West Texas A&M for the program's first-ever NCAA Division II national championship.
That special night came roughly two months after Stevens earned her 900th career win with a 98-82 homecourt victory over Saint Anselm College on January 25, 2014. Win number 800, a 93-60 victory over C.W. Post, also came at home, on Dec. 9, 2010.
Stevens, a five-time Russell Athletic/WBCA Division II National Coach of the Year (including 2013 and 2014), has a record of 882-191 in 33 Bentley seasons. That includes records of 29-6, 26-6, 28-4 and 28-4 during the last four seasons, and at least 26 wins in eight of the last nine seasons.
Stevens was among the 2006 class of inductees into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame during ceremonies held in Knoxville, Tenn. in April of that year. That honor came a little more than three months after Stevens became the sixth NCAA women’s basketball coach to reach the 700-win plateau with an 85-69 win over Bryant January 5, 2006.
Stevens’ 1039 victories have come in 1321 games, resulting in a career winning percentage of .787. Do the math and you’ll see that she is more than 700 games over .500! Of the top ten winningest coaches in NCAA women’s basketball history, only Summitt, Auriemma and VanDerveer have averaged more victories per season than Stevens.
A 2005 inductee into the Bentley Athletic Hall of Fame, Barbara has been the winningest coach in Division II history since Feb. 6, 1999 when the Falcons topped Merrimack, 65-56, in North Andover. That was victory number 520, pushing her past the late Darlene May of Cal Poly Pomona.
Earlier in that same season, she became the first women’s basketball coach in New England history to reach the 500 career win plateau with an 89-66 victory over Columbus State.
Career win number 600 came Jan. 26, 2003 when the Falcons cruised to an 83-42 victory at Saint Rose. Her 500th Bentley win came at Southern New Hampshire Feb. 10, 2004.
That’s just the start of a lengthy list of accomplishments for the 16-time Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year, an award she received for the most recent time following this past season.
Stevens' Bentley tenure has included an .822 winning percentage, 31 NCAA tournament berths, 14 NCAA regional championships, ten appearances in the national semifinals, 12 30-win seasons (including five straight from 1989-93), 20 Northeast-10 regular season championships, and breaking the school record for consecutive wins seven times.
However, perhaps the most impressive stat is the fact that Barbara Stevens’ Bentley teams have averaged 26.7 wins a season. That’s while playing a 26 or 27-game regular season schedule over most of her tenure!
Barbara, who has seen a number of her former players go on to coach in the college ranks, has also reached the top of her profession off the court, serving as the 1994-95 President of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. No other Division II coach has ever headed the 4,000-member organization.
Barbara came to Bentley in 1986 after three years as head coach at UMass. The 1976 Bridgewater State product began her coaching career as an assistant coach at Clark during the 1976-77 season.
“Bardy” was promoted to head coach following year and met with a great deal of success during her six seasons at helm, winning nearly 75 percent of time. The Cougars averaged better than 20 wins a season and reached the NCAA Division III Final Four in both 1982 and 1983.
While at Clark, Barbara guided her teams to three Division III state championships and a postseason tournament five straight seasons. In her final season, she was named District l Converse/WBCA Coach of the Year and coached the Division III Champion Player of the Year, Margie O’Brien.
At UMass, Barbara had a three-year record of 34-49 while coaching in the highly competitive Atlantic 10 Conference. During her tenure at UMass, that conference frequently had three teams ranked in the top twenty.
Her accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. Stevens has been the WBCA Division II National Coach of the Year an unprecedented five times (1992, 1999, 2001, 2013 and 2014) and has been voted Northeast-10 Coach of the Year 16 times (1988-89, 1991-93, 1996-2001, 2003, 2011, 2014 and each of the last two seasons) She was also named the Division II Coach of the Year by the American Women’s Sports Federation following the 1988-89 season, and was the WBCA District One Coach of the Year annually from 1991-93, again from 1999-2001, in 2003, from 2012-14 and last year.
Stevens was one of 100 members of the charter induction class into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in October 2002, and both the Clark and Bridgewater State Halls of Fame have also called her name.
In 2002, Stevens was presented with the prestigious Carol Eckman Award from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, given for sportsmanship, commitment to the student-athlete, honesty, ethical behavior, courage and dedication to purpose.
In July 1994, she traveled to France and Israel as an assistant coach for the USA Select Team, marking the second straight summer she was involved in USA Basketball. In 1993, she was an assistant coach for the West team at the U.S. Olympic Festival.
Barbara is a native of Southbridge. She resides in Waltham.
The Stevens Record
|1977-83||Clark (6 Years)||123-42||.745|
|1983-86||Massachusetts (3 Years)||34-49||.410|
|1986-||Bentley (33 Years)||882-191||.822|