NEW CASTLE, Ind. – It started when she was a week old. That’s when Madison Layden started going to basketball games. By the time she was 2, she was already shooting, and already winning.
No, really. Her mom would be scouting at a high school game, and Madison would scamper down to the court. Make a shot, win a bottle of pop.
She’d always come back with a bottle of pop or two.
“That was my favorite part,” Layden says now. “I don’t know if I watched much of the games, but I always loved to go down and shoot.”
She still does plenty of that. Shoots a lot. Makes a lot. Wins a lot. And her mom still watches. But now, she’s traded the pop for trophies and rings.
To say there’s competitive blood in the Layden family would be an understatement. Kathie Layden has been a head coach for 19 seasons. She won three straight state titles during a 10-year run at Tri-Central, and won another state title last year in her seventh season with Northwestern High School (Kokomo, Ind.).
She’s never coached a team with a losing record.
Her husband, Jeff Layden is a coaching veteran too. The Lawrence North graduate and former Indiana All-Star was a boys coach for nearly a decade at Tri-Central in various capacities. Now, he’s in his fourth season as his an assistant on his wife’s staff. Kathie Layden’s father, Dave Wise, has spent time on the coaching staff as well.
So what’s it like to have your mom, dad and grandpa coaching you?
“I wouldn’t want it any other way,” the Purdue commit said. “That’s the way it’s I’ve always had it. I like it. It’s fun.”
Of course, winning helps. Last season, the Tigers went 29-1 en route to a Class 3A title. This season, the Tigers are of to a 12-2 start. And Layden has been a focal point of the team ever since she stepped on the court. She averaged 14.4 points, 6.2 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 4.2 steals as a freshman. Last season, she averaged 18.7 points. This season, her junior year, she’s up to 22.5 points, 6.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 5.3 steals.
It became quickly apparent that Layden would eclipse the athletic success of her mother and father, who both played basketball collegiately at Evansville. The 6-1 point guard also plays tennis, having dropped just three sets in two seasons at No. 1 singles for a program that’s won three straight sectional titles. And she’s not bad at volleyball, either — she has 1,244 kills in three seasons for a team that’s won a pair of sectional titles during her tenure. (And, oh yeah, Kathie is an assistant on the volleyball staff and the head girls tennis coach.)