Nike dedicates Stringer child development center

Updated: September 10, 2008, 6:47 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The C. Vivian Stringer Child Development Center was dedicated on Tuesday at the Nike World Headquarters on the Nike campus in Beaverton, Ore.

In April, Nike announced it would name its second development center (the Joe Paterno Center opened in 1992) on its 177-acre campus after Rutgers' women's basketball coach. The Stringer Center, a 35,000-square foot facility, opened in June, and houses 26 classrooms, providing care, learning and development for approximately 300 children between the ages of six months and 5 years old.

The Nike campus buildings pay tribute to some of the world's best athletes and coaches. Some of the athletes honored include, John McEnroe, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Michael Jordan, Mike Schmidt, Nolan Ryan, Lance Armstrong, Mia Hamm, Ken Griffey Jr., Pete Sampras, Jerry Rice and Tiger Woods.

Stringer is the third woman, the second coach, and the first African-American woman to have a building named after her on Nike's campus.

"I am tremendously touched by this amazing honor from Nike," Stringer said. "I am a fairly humble person and have a hard time accepting accolades so this [building named in my honor] has hit me very hard. Coaching is my passion and so many individuals have touched my life personally and professionally, helping me reach goals I never imagined.

"I am blessed to have had success, and I know without so many phenomenal people in my life, it would not have been possible to win 100 games much less 800. I cannot imagine ever doing anything other than teaching young women which makes this center even more special to me."

The Edenborn, Pa., native, who attended Slippery Rock University, began her coaching career at Cheyney State in 1971. She compiled a 251-51 ledger in 12 seasons, taking the Lady Wolves to the first women's basketball national championship game in 1982. Stringer then coached at Iowa from 1983-1995, reaching the Final Four in 1993.

Stringer has directed Rutgers to two Final Four appearances during her 13-year tenure (2000, 2007). In 2000, she became the first coach -- male or female -- to take three different programs to the Final Four. This past season, Stringer became just the third women's coach and the ninth coach overall to record 800 wins.

Various areas in Nike's child development center were named by Stringer, and are meant to reflect on individuals, universities and places which have touched her life. All the classrooms are named after Nike Kids shoes. The building is divided into four wings: infants (Scarlet Knights), toddlers (The Rock), transition (Hawkeyes), and pre-school (Wolves).

Upon entering the Stringer Center, one will walk into the Stoner Family Lobby. Stoner is Stringer's maiden name and is meant to recognize her five siblings, Jack, Tim, Verna, Madeline and Richelle.

The conference room is called "Vivian's and Bill's" for Stringer's late husband, Bill, who died in 1992. Two adjoining courtyards acknowledge Stringer's parents, mother Thelma Stoner and her late father, Charles. Another pair of courtyards recognize Stringer's late father-in-law, Pascal, and her mother-in-law, Marian Stringer.

The Chaney Education Center is a nod to one of Stringer's mentors, former Cheyney State and Temple coach John Chaney. The two playrooms are named Janice and Jada, recognizing a dear old friend and Stringer's goddaughter.

Four playgrounds adorn the outside grounds. Three of the play facilities are named for Stringer's three children: David, Justin and Nina. The fourth is named for Keonte Williams, Stringer's niece. The highest point in the playground is called Ann Hill, a tribute to Stringer's good friend and former assistant at Cheyney. Other special recognition is given to Fox Chase Cancer Center and Stringer's hometown.

The Stringer Center building consumes 33 percent less energy than a typical building, and was constructed of 80 percent waste recycled materials. Solar panels in the eco-friendly facility provide an additional 15 percent of the building's energy usage, which results in a structure that uses nearly 50 percent less energy from the grid than a typical building. In addition, the landscaping uses 60 percent less and the building 40 percent less water than a typical structure.