Menlo News April 10, 2024

Basketball coaching legend VanDerveer steps down at Stanford; Kate Paye (Menlo ’91) expected to be named successor

VanDerveer announced her retirement, is expected to hand reins to her former player and current associate head coach

Menlo alumna Kate Paye '91 will take the reins from legendary basketball coach Tara VanDerveer at Stanford.

It’s hard to imagine watching a Stanford women’s basketball game without Coach Tara VanDerveer at the front of the bench, but a familiar face in her student and now Associate Head Coach Kate Paye will be taking over as head coach.

Stanford announced VanDerveer’s retirement Tuesday evening, and the Hall of Fame coach, who has won more games than any college coach in history, gave a farewell speech Wednesday afternoon.

In 45 years as a head coach at Idaho (1978-80), Ohio State (1980-85) and Stanford (1985-95, 1996-2024), VanDerveer amassed an NCAA-record 1,216 victories. In 38 seasons at Stanford, she led the team to three NCAA championships – 1990, 1992 and 2021 – and 14 Final Fours.

“I love working with you,” Vanderveer said to Paye in her farewell speech. “Kate is a phenomenal coach: she is knowledgeable, an excellent communicator and totally invested in Stanford.”

Paye is one of the scores of outstanding players fortunate enough to play for VanDerveer, Out of Menlo School, Paye received offers from other Div.​ I teams. She was not recruited by Stanford, but she attended training camp and tryouts. VanDerveer accepted her as a walk-on and she won a spot as a point guard on the team. Paye became a captain and was a part of two national championships - one as a player then another as a coach. She has coached at Stanford for 17 years - the last eight as associate head coach.

Three weeks ago, Paye was named Women’s Basketball Coaches Assistant Coach of Year - her second honor with the Cardinal.

“Kate’s been my security blanket, Kate is going to be awesome. She’s brilliant, she’s hard-working, is a great communicator,” VanDerveer said. “She loves Stanford and loves the players here. She’s paid her dues - she’s had the opportunity to head coach and she’s been incredibly loyal. I cannot say enough good things about her.”

Paye earned her bachelor’s in political science from Stanford in 1995. She also graduated with distinction with both her Juris Doctorate and master’s degree in business administration from Stanford in 2003. She worked as a corporate attorney before returning to the game of basketball.

At Menlo, Paye helped Menlo School win three consecutive CCS Div. V state basketball championships from 1989-1991, all while brother John ’83 was coaching her.

Both Kate’s father and brother - both named John - lettered as members of the Stanford football team. Her father lettered in 1962, while her brother John was Stanford’s starting quarterback from 1983-86, currently ranks fifth all-time in the school record book with career passing yards. Her brother, a former Menlo basketball and flag football head coach, also earned three letters as a point guard with the Stanford men’s basketball team from 1984-86.

Her mentor VanDerveer will continue to work with Stanford and the Athletics Department as an adviser.