A Memoir of Tragedy and Triumph
On Sale: March 4, 2008
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At a time when heroes are too rare, C. Vivian Stringer sets
a shining example. She has time and again shown character,
fortitude, and heart, both on and off the hardwood, and in
the face of unbearable loss. In Standing Tall, she shares
her remarkable life story, inspiring us to find this
fortitude within ourselves.
“Work hard, and don’t look for excuses,” Stringer’s parents
told her, “and you can achieve anything.” But her faith and
perseverance would be tested many times. A gifted athlete,
she had to fight for a place on an all-white cheerleading
squad in the sixties. In 1981, just as her coaching career
was taking off, her fourteen-month-old daughter, Nina, was
stricken with spinal meningitis. Nina would never walk or
talk again. Still grieving, Stringer brought a small, poor,
historically black college to the national championships—a
triumph hailed as “Hoosiers with an all-female cast.” In
1991, her husband, Bill—her staunchest supporter, the father
of her children, and the love of her life—fell dead of a
sudden heart attack, but that same year, she led yet another
young team to the Final Four. Through these dark times and
others—including her bout with cancer, shared here for the
first time—Stringer has carried her burdens with grace.
Given her history, it was no surprise that she led her team
to respond to Don Imus’s slurs with dignity and courage.
Standing Tall is a story of quiet strength in the face of
punishing odds. Above all, it is an extraordinary love
story—love for the game, for the players she has coached,
for her close-knit family, and for the husband she lost far
too soon. It will resonate long after the last page.
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