Vanderveer will replace former UCSD head coach Charity Elliott, who accepted an offer to coach at Division I Loyola Marymount this April.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity,” Vanderveer said. “They’ve built up quite a tradition of excellence, and I just want to build upon that. I’m excited to get to San Diego and start working with the women on our team.”
Vanderveer began her coaching career as an assistant for Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee, during which the Lady Volunteers advanced to the Final Four back in 1988. Vanderveer then spent six seasons as an assistant at the University of South Carolina, before she was named the head coach at Eastern Washington University.
After three seasons at Eastern Washington — where she led the squad to back-to-back conference tournament finals — Vanderveer took a position as head coach of the newly formed WNBA Sacramento Monarchs. She spent the next 10 seasons as an assistant for the Minnesota Lynx and as a WNBA scout.
Vanderveer returned to collegiate coaching in 2007 as the associate head coach at San Diego State before landing the head coaching position at Occidental in 2009.
Vanderveer — whose older sister Tara Vanderveer is the head coach at Stanford — has also spent time as a scout for the 2008 women’s national team that won gold in Beijing.
“I’ve enjoyed a tremendous variety of experience in basketball,” Vanderveer said. “I’ve learned a great deal from some tremendous basketball minds and tremendous people.”
In 2013, Vanderveer will be tasked with rebuilding a squad that has lost three of its principal players in graduating seniors: guard Daisy Feder, forward Lauren Freidenberg and All-American Chelsea Carlisle. The three led 2012’s women’s basketball team to the longest winning streak in school history, a regular season title as well as an appearance in the West Region Finals.
“Every year’s a new year,” Vanderveer said. “Obviously losing such a talented trio of players is challenging, but where there are challenges there are also opportunities for younger players.”
UCSD Athletic Director Earl Edwards feels confident that Vanderveer’s experience fully qualifies her to head the Tritons in 2013.
“We are extremely pleased to have a coach of Heidi VanDerveer’s caliber joining the Triton family,” Edwards said to the UCSD Athletics Department. “She has had a great deal of success at several different levels of the sport and has consistently been able to recruit student-athletes with high academic standards at Occidental. We look forward to building on the recent success of the program and we feel that Heidi is the right person to continue that path.”
Vanderveer is in the process of hiring a staff of assistant coaches.