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Extended Audio Sample Standing Tall: A Memoir of Tragedy and Triumph Audiobook, by C. Vivian Stringer Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (183 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: C. Vivian Stringer, Laura Tucker Narrator: C. Vivian Stringer, Karen Chilton Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2008 ISBN: 9780739329122
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“Lots of people have dreams, but C. Vivian Stringer is the dream—a coalminer’s daughter who believed when her Poppa told her there was no obstacle she could not surmount. And she lives that dream, teaching others to rise up to meet challenges, turning underdogs into champions again and again—on and off the court. This is the quintessential American story, of a woman and of a family pulling together against the odds. Standing Tall offers an important message of hope to so many.”
—John Chaney, Hall of Fame college basketball coach


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.


From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • If you want to be introduced to the demands and delights of basketball, I am sure this book will satisfy you. If you want a book to speak eloquently about finding and losing a great love, about proud parenthood and passionate competition, rush to get this book. Simply put, it is a wonderful book about the wonder of growing up African American, female, ambitious, and successful. I laughed and cried with this book and was pleased. You go girl! Maya Angelou
  • Coach Vivian Stringer is a pillar of strength who always stands tall. I’m inspired by her, both on and off the court, and you will be too. President Bill Clinton
  •  “The people who most inspired me in the civil rights movement–from Martin Luther King Jr. to Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte–were each protégés of the scholar, artist, athlete, and civil rights activist Paul Robeson and I have long believed that C. Vivian Stringer continues in the proud tradition of this inspiring leader. In Standing Tall, C. Vivian Stringer confirms beyond any doubt that she does indeed stand tall in the tradition of Robeson and King, and I am certain that readers will not simply be moved by her story, but that their lives will be touched and changed for the better for reading it. Andrew Young
  •  “What a story! In a way that touches me very personally, I see in Coach Stringer a mother’s love–and I know that love is the kind of leadership that can change the world. Michael Jordan
  • "In a time of darkness, C. Vivian Stringer stepped forward and led her team–and then the nation. Our country got to see what Coach Stringer's players have seen for more than thirty years: a model of grace and strength for a generation of young women. She has been an inspiration and a role model for me in coaching and now Standing Tall gives us an uncommon glimpse of the woman behind the coach. Tony Dungy
  • C. Vivian Stringer is a woman of amazing principle and strength. I have always admired her genuineness and her unfailing optimism, and now readers can too. Standing Tall is a fascinating look into the life of this extraordinary woman. Pat Head Summitt 
  • “Thank goodness we have someone like Vivian Stringer, someone with the clarity and courage to stand up for what is right. With Standing Tall, she has answered the call again; when we most need a story to inspire us, she has given us this extraordinary book. Magic (Earvin) Johnson
  • “Love, honesty, respect, integrity: If you use these ingredients to build strong character–there you have C. Vivian Stringer’s story, and so beautifully written. Bill Cosby
  • “Lots of people have dreams, but C. Vivian Stringer is the dream–a coalminer’s daughter who believed when her Poppa told her there was no obstacle she could not surmount. And she lives that dream, teaching others to rise up to meet challenges, turning underdogs into champions again and again–on and off the court. This is the quintessential American story, of a woman and of a family pulling together against the odds. Standing Tall offers an important message of hope to so many. John Chaney, Hall of Fame college basketball coach
  • Vivian Stringer has a great mind and heart and she isn’t afraid to show it. She is a true champion and hero, in basketball and in life.
    Billie Jean King
  • "This is an emotional roller coaster of a memoir, but it is told with humor, passion, and gratitude. An inspiring life story–and certain to get plenty of attention. Booklist
  • "A moving memoir about overcoming adversity with grace and stamina. Ebony

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valarie | 2/16/2014

    " When I started this book, I thought Vivian Stringer deserved a much better ghostwriter...then I couldn't put the book down. The actual writing still leaves a lot to be desired, but Stringer's story is so fascinating, it matters a bit less. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharice Richards | 2/9/2014

    " Got up to chap 9 "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tammy | 2/6/2014

    " Not the best writing style, but a very inspirational book. She speaks highly of Iowans. :-) Makes me want to watch more Rutgers Women's basketball. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 CKE387 | 1/28/2014

    " Stringer's story is heartfelt and endearing. So much to her than basketball, learn about her outside of sports. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tina | 1/10/2014

    " Talk about someone who's been through adversity. An inspiring story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jean Perry | 1/8/2014

    " For the first half of this book, i tho't it was too schmaltzy, in fact i put it down for a couple of months. I picked it up last week and she was just "going to Rutgers" as coach. The rest of the book seemed to me to be so much better than the first half. It moved along better, it was more interesting to me and captured me. Last night i was reading about the 2006-7 season and i couldn't put the book down - maybe it was knowing what was coming at the end of the season. I also cried thru the whole ''season." Her style now seemed appropriate - maybe i just decided that's who she is - and the story is, of course, compelling - the change in the team thru the season, the spontaneous coming together of previous players to motivate the team, their victories, and, of course, Imus' idiot statements. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Krista | 1/8/2014

    " I was anticipating this book for so long, I bought the hardcover the day it was released. I was glad I did. Leading her Rutgers Team through the Imus saga was a small portion of her lifelong battles.Vivian Stringer is an incredible woman with a great story. Another one to stay in my library. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 12/20/2013

    " This book was amazing I highly recommend it. I wish I had some "do over" times in my life... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becca | 10/29/2013

    " I really enjoyed reading about Stringer's life and her coaching philosophy. I was excited to hear that there are still coaches out there who take the job seriously and not only teach their young people about the game but also about life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharice | 5/24/2013

    " Got up to chap 9 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 5/10/2013

    " I found this woman to be an inspiration to all women! We could all learn from this strong woman. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cyndi Dwyer | 3/15/2013

    " C. Vivian Stringer is a phenomenal woman who is also one the best coaches. She has and is an incredible roll model who has endured many hardships in her personal and professional life, yet she has stood tall. This was a fast read too! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tjmicey | 2/27/2013

    " It motivates me alot "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine | 1/25/2013

    " This book is excellent! I've been unable to put it down since I picked it up. Well written and incredibly "real". I played high school basketball so some of the "coaching" stories really hit home. Remarkable, uplifting story! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 1/13/2013

    " Good insight into how Coach Stringer is. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pamm | 1/2/2013

    " Tragedy can equal triumph. It is a matter of one's character strength, beliefs, and faith that allows you to see the good in the most trying and difficult times. She is very open and real when sharing her feelings, set-backs, and failures...even her thoughts. Enjoyable, Easy Read so far. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle B. | 3/3/2012

    " I listened to it on tape. It was very powerful and inspiring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lanell | 2/21/2012

    " I am still reading this one but so far it is really good. I got it because I am trying to learn some new things about basketball but it is more about lessons you learn about life through sports and hard work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 1/22/2012

    " I liked this biography-at some points she describes each play a bit much but I overall really really enjoyed it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Little | 12/30/2011

    " Great book. Inspirational. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emmi | 10/16/2011

    " Coach is the best! We love her! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Jo | 10/16/2011

    " I wish I could give this book 3 1/2 stars. Coach Stringer's story is amazing. What an inspiration! The writing quality did not stand out at all. It was fine, but no great shakes. I look forward to following the Scarlet Knights and celebrating with Coach when she does get the championship! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 9/9/2011

    " This book is an awesome read about an amazing woman. coach, mentor, and inspiration. I have met this Rutgers Women's Basketball Coach, and was thrilled to read the book. Couldn't put it down "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elaine Mercado | 7/8/2011

    " Being from Iowa, I have loved Vivian for many years. I thought I knew much of her story, but obviously I didn't. She has now become a hero to me. Amazing woman whose story is a must read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamie Kay (Bunte) Stanlick | 5/25/2011

    " Very inspirational! Given to me by my Dad which makes it even better. Love you Dad! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tina | 2/20/2011

    " Talk about someone who's been through adversity. An inspiring story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 2/1/2011

    " Rutgers Women's Basketball Coach Memoir
    "

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About the Author

C. Vivian Stringer is the head coach of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. A member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, she has been named National Coach of the Year three times by her peers. She was also the assistant coach for the gold medal–winning 2004 US Olympic team. She currently lives in New Jersey.

About the Narrator

Karen Chilton is a New York–based actor and writer and an accomplished voice-over artist and narrator. Her voice can be heard on numerous national network television, radio, and Internet advertising campaigns. She has narrated dozens of audiobooks and won an Audiofile Earphones Award.