Life has been good for Lauren Carra since her University of Delaware basketball career ended.
She has stayed around the Newark area, continuing her education at UD, becoming a radio broadcaster for Blue Hens’ games and coaching an AAU team at the Brandywine YMCA.
Carra won’t be leaving the First State anytime soon, either, as she was hired as the new Cape Henlopen High School girls basketball coach in early July.
“I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity,” she said.
The guard that helped UD women’s basketball clinch back-to-back Colonial Athletic Association titles and the first NCAA Sweet 16 birth in the 2012-13 season said it was a little unexpected because she was going against candidates with prior head coaching experience.
She didn’t think it would happen so quickly, but that does not mean she’s not confident.
Broadcasting on the sidelines at the Bob Carpenter Center, Carra got a better idea of what it would be like to coach, she said.
Although it was something she always knew she wanted to do, she wasn’t sure about high school coaching until working with kids on the AAU team and being in the classroom for her master’s plus certification program in exceptional children and youth.
“I fell in love with teaching and being in the classroom,” Carra said, adding she will teach special education at the high school.
Cape Henlopen is getting a terrific coach and teacher, UD women’s basketball coach Tina Martin said. Carra will spend time breaking down film, and she really knows the game, Martin said.
She was always one of the smarter players on the court, but that’s not what stood out to Sussex Central High School girls basketball coach Ron Dukes when he watched Carra play. It was the hustle and enthusiasm she brought to the floor, and Dukes knows that to continue the Golden Knights’ success, he’ll have to compete with Cape twice a year.
“She always had the heart and soul of the team,” Dukes said. “She was very tenacious on defense. She would go after loose balls and it didn’t matter if her body got hurt or not.”
Over the past few years, it’s been Caesar Rodney, Smyrna and Central fighting for the Henlopen North. Dukes thinks Carra can bring Cape into the fold.
Under previous coach Lamont Hazzard, Dukes said Cape (10-10) started some freshmen who got a lot of playing experience, which means Carra has some young talent to work with.
Although she still needs to get to know players and families, the new head coach has heard great things.
All Carra can say now is that she will bring the same mentality to coaching she had as a player.
“I know the talent is there, from what I’m told,” she said. “Hard work brings success, and if these girls bring 100 percent every day — not only on the court but in the classroom — good things are going to come.”
Martin, who has had over 10 former players become coaches, said it’s the right attitude to have. She always tells her players to coach fundamentally sound and build a relationship with the team.
And of course, patience.
“Coaching is such a challenging occupation, but at the same time it’s a very rewarding occupation,” Martin said. “You watch these young people grow up right in front of your eyes and do really great things both on and off the court. Have patience, because there are times where you do want to pull your hair out a little bit.”
That being said, Carra remembers the tough years at Delaware before the all the success.
They learned what it took to be CAA champions and then NCAA competitors, she said.
The hard work showed at the end of those seasons, and that’s what she’ll instill in her team.
With the potential for success, it could create a roundabout homecoming for the Pennsylvania native.
Carra has played at the Bob, broadcasted live games and now hopes to roam the sideline as a coach in the state playoffs.
“That’s something that I’m looking forward to, and that will be a goal for us to get back to the Bob,” Carra said. “We won’t sell our goals short.”
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Lauren Carra’s Blue Hens’ career
• Second all-time in 3-pointers with 171
• 10th all-time in scoring with 1,275 points
• Second all-time in consecutive games played (134) behind teammate Danielle Parker (136)
• Carra was part of the 2012-13 Blue Hens’ team that made the Sweet 16 for the first time after winning its second straight Colonial Athletic Association Conference Championship