May 14, 2012
Basketball Coaching Moms Lead Intriguing Lives

Greenville Online, Bart Wright

http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20120513/SPORTS/305130028/Basketball-coaching-moms-lead-lives-they-never-imagined?odyssey=nav|head

They had plans like all little girls, and then the real world took over.

There would be college, a handsome man who always smiled at the right time would come into their lives, and the career? The career was going to be special, it would set them apart because they weren’t going to just have a job, they were going to pursue their life’s passion.

Families? Oh yeah, they wanted to have families, but all the details were kind of fuzzy on that score, when they were little girls.

Those days are alive in the memories of Itoro Coleman and Jackie Carson, but you have to slow them down, get them to take a deep breath and exhale to recall just how it was back then.

The truth is neither of them imagined it turning out the way it has, but here we are, Mother’s Day, 2012 and the women’s basketball coaches at Clemson and Furman Universities are a breed apart in many ways from the daily routines of many other moms.

No two stories are just alike and surely with the economy still climbing out of a ditch, Carson, the Furman coach and Coleman, the Clemson coach, are far from the only two moms in the Upstate with jobs out of the house requiring a heavy commitment of time.

But they are on paths few moms travel.

“Every little girl has those dreams, said Carson, and they probably aren’t much different at a certain age from one to another. The dream is that you are in college or just out of college and a Prince Charming comes along, but most of us don’t have it happen quite that way.”

Carson said it probably took her a little longer than most to dream those dreams because she was the youngest of four in a family of three older brothers, who were always trying to make me into a guy.

I never pictured coaching because my brothers were always trying to toughen me up, she said, you know, tom boy stuff, mixing it up with them in sports. I pictured getting married in my mid-twenties and going from there, but even that didn’t happen.”

Carson, one of Furman’s most decorated women’s players, got married at 30 to Rob Carson, these days an academic adviser at the school. She was 33 when Londyn was born.

Fortunately, the calendar gives them their day at the right time of year because these are two that would be skipping celebrations had Mother’s Day fallen in the middle of the basketball season, or worse, during a heavy recruiting time.

That’s not to say they would necessarily be missing their families, because each frequently takes a child on recruiting trips.

“It’s one of the things we can do that some others probably can’t, said Coleman, also one of the better players at her school, where she has returned to coach. I think the parents of the kids you are recruiting might get a stronger connection when you tell them you will be accepting a responsibility of kind of being the away-from-home mother, and they realize you know what you’re talking about.

“It’s also helpful for the players to be around little kids, he said. It reminds them there’s a bigger world out there, we have responsibilities that go beyond boxing out on a rebound or whatever.

“I tell my players when my kids are around and when they aren’t around, ‘Be mindful of that fact that there are little eyes watching you and noticing what you do, ‘ I always want them to keep that in mind.”

At Furman, Carson’s daughter has also been on the recruiting trail.

“I take her with me when I can, Carson said of her daughter Londyn, born last August, because I want to recruit people that (Londyn) can look up to as a role model. You spend so much time out of the year with other people’s children, you have to find ways to make time for your own.”

Coleman, the mother of four, has been pregnant three years in a row. Her husband Harold is a Clemson engineering grad who landed a top level job in Indianapolis, then decided to back off his career a bit to let Itoro lead the way. These days Harold is involved with youth foundations he organized while she chases success in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this, Itoro Coleman said. We were going to have two and that was it, and then, well, God brought us another and we said, ‘OK, we can do one more, ‘ but then when the fourth one came, it was like, ‘OK, we’re done now, like, we’re really, really done.”

Both coaches said they don’t concern themselves with having a different lifestyle than most mothers have, because the one they have is all they know.

Basketball Coaching Moms Lead Intriguing Lives

Greenville Online, Bart Wright

http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20120513/SPORTS/305130028/Basketball-coaching-moms-lead-lives-they-never-imagined?odyssey=nav|head

They had plans like all little girls, and then the real world took over.

There would be college, a handsome man who always smiled at the right time would come into their lives, and the career? The career was going to be special, it would set them apart because they weren’t going to just have a job, they were going to pursue their life’s passion.

Families? Oh yeah, they wanted to have families, but all the details were kind of fuzzy on that score, when they were little girls.

Those days are alive in the memories of Itoro Coleman and Jackie Carson, but you have to slow them down, get them to take a deep breath and exhale to recall just how it was back then.

The truth is neither of them imagined it turning out the way it has, but here we are, Mother’s Day, 2012 and the women’s basketball coaches at Clemson and Furman Universities are a breed apart in many ways from the daily routines of many other moms.

No two stories are just alike and surely with the economy still climbing out of a ditch, Carson, the Furman coach and Coleman, the Clemson coach, are far from the only two moms in the Upstate with jobs out of the house requiring a heavy commitment of time.

But they are on paths few moms travel.

“Every little girl has those dreams, said Carson, and they probably aren’t much different at a certain age from one to another. The dream is that you are in college or just out of college and a Prince Charming comes along, but most of us don’t have it happen quite that way.”

Carson said it probably took her a little longer than most to dream those dreams because she was the youngest of four in a family of three older brothers, who were always trying to make me into a guy.

I never pictured coaching because my brothers were always trying to toughen me up, she said, you know, tom boy stuff, mixing it up with them in sports. I pictured getting married in my mid-twenties and going from there, but even that didn’t happen.”

Carson, one of Furman’s most decorated women’s players, got married at 30 to Rob Carson, these days an academic adviser at the school. She was 33 when Londyn was born.

Fortunately, the calendar gives them their day at the right time of year because these are two that would be skipping celebrations had Mother’s Day fallen in the middle of the basketball season, or worse, during a heavy recruiting time.

That’s not to say they would necessarily be missing their families, because each frequently takes a child on recruiting trips.

“It’s one of the things we can do that some others probably can’t, said Coleman, also one of the better players at her school, where she has returned to coach. I think the parents of the kids you are recruiting might get a stronger connection when you tell them you will be accepting a responsibility of kind of being the away-from-home mother, and they realize you know what you’re talking about.

“It’s also helpful for the players to be around little kids, he said. It reminds them there’s a bigger world out there, we have responsibilities that go beyond boxing out on a rebound or whatever.

“I tell my players when my kids are around and when they aren’t around, ‘Be mindful of that fact that there are little eyes watching you and noticing what you do, ‘ I always want them to keep that in mind.”

At Furman, Carson’s daughter has also been on the recruiting trail.

“I take her with me when I can, Carson said of her daughter Londyn, born last August, because I want to recruit people that (Londyn) can look up to as a role model. You spend so much time out of the year with other people’s children, you have to find ways to make time for your own.”

Coleman, the mother of four, has been pregnant three years in a row. Her husband Harold is a Clemson engineering grad who landed a top level job in Indianapolis, then decided to back off his career a bit to let Itoro lead the way. These days Harold is involved with youth foundations he organized while she chases success in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this, Itoro Coleman said. We were going to have two and that was it, and then, well, God brought us another and we said, ‘OK, we can do one more, ‘ but then when the fourth one came, it was like, ‘OK, we’re done now, like, we’re really, really done.”

Both coaches said they don’t concern themselves with having a different lifestyle than most mothers have, because the one they have is all they know.






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