Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer to take leave of absence through Big Ten Tournament

A tough month for the Rutgers women's basketball team just got a lot tougher. 

The program announced on Sunday morning that Hall of Fame head coach C. Vivian Stringer will take a leave of absence. Stringer, who will turn 71 in March, is expected to return after the Big Ten Tournament, which runs March 6-10. 

Assistant Tim Eatman will be the interim head coach in Stringer's absence. 

"As you can imagine this was not an easy decision, however, in consultation with my doctors, it is in my best interest to spend time to get healthy before returning to the day-to-day grind of coaching," Stringer said in a statement.

Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer poses in front of a banner that will hang from the rafters after Rutgers defeated Central Connecticut for Stringer's 1,000th career NCAA college basketball game win, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Photo11: Bill Kostroun, AP)

"I would not be able to do this without the faith in my assistants Tim Eatman, Kelley Gibson and Nadine Domond to handle the program in my absence. I know our young ladies can finish the season strong playing Scarlet Knight basketball and I will rejoin the team as soon as I can.

"I would like to thank the many friends, fans and members of the Rutgers Athletics community that have sent me well wishes and I look forward to seeing you all soon."

Assistant coach Timothy Eatman will take over head coaching duties of #RHoops for head coach C. Vivian Stringer, who is expected to return to the sidelines following the Big Ten Tournament.

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Stringer's announcement comes in the middle of a trying month for her program. 

On Thursday night, Rutgers announced that Caitlin Jenkins has been dismissed from the program. The senior forward had been suspended indefinitely after her domestic violence-related arrest in New Brunswick earlier this month. 

On the floor, Rutgers has lost four of five going into Monday night's game against Wisconsin at the RAC. Despite the struggles, Rutgers (18-8, 10-5 Big Ten) is third in the Big Ten, and remains in line for a top four finish, which would yield a double-bye at the Big Ten Tournament. 

Stringer's current four-year contract, which was signed before the start of the 2017-18 season, is incentive-heavy. She already has earned $10,000 for Rutgers getting 10 Big Ten wins, but a whopping $410,000 in bonuses is tied to NCAA Tournament qualification and advancement. 


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