Heart of the game

Ferris State women’s basketball head coach Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate was welcomed to the Bulldog family just last year (2012-13) after her exquisite coaching experience of 27 years.

Lamoreaux-Tate grew up in Grand Rapids, where she played basketball at West Catholic High School and was granted a scholarship to play basketball at Lake Superior State University.

“My coach that had recruited me for Lake Superior had transferred, so I transferred to Aquinas where I finished my basketball career,” Lamoreaux-Tate said. “I got my criminology degree and bachelor’s degree and became a cop. I then left being a cop because I was hired as East Grand Rapids varsity girls’ coach.”

Lamoreaux-Tate had started her coaching experience while still in college when she started coaching a freshmen girls’ team.

“While I was playing basketball at Aquinas, I started coaching basketball as West Catholic’s freshmen girls’ coach,” Lamoreaux-Tate said. “I coached there for seven years, then I coached for ten years for the Grand Rapids varsity girls’ team but had to quit being a cop because it interfered.”

“I don’t think anyone is born thinking they can coach,” Lamoreaux-Tate said. “I never knew I could coach until I started, and right now, I don’t even know if I can because we are on a losing streak… I have never in my life had a losing record.”

After every game, whether a win or loss, Lamoreaux-Tate likes to follow the 24-hour rule.

“I usually do not talk to the girls after games for 24 hours, win or lose. I need time, I am usually not even happy after a win,” Lamoreaux-Tate said. “This is foreign to me after so many losses in a row. How I deal with it is I watch film. And those 24 hours gives me perspective and emotion. You do not ever want to coach on emotion, it is not fair to the girls.”

During those twenty-four hours, Lamoreaux-Tate likes to break everything down and create a new game plan for the team.

“I watch film and break it down,” Lamoreaux-Tate said. “If they are making the same mistakes over and over again then that is what makes coaches mad. If they are making mistakes from the beginning of the season again, then they have to be held accountable and that is what we have been talking about lately.”

The Bulldogs have created a whole new way to prepare for games and so far it has worked.

“We just did a new thing with the stats during practice; they have had two days of practice and that dictates who starts tomorrow,” Lamoreaux-Tate said. “Every drill we do in practice will count as stats. The five who had the highest scores will start that week. That is owning it, right there. If it helps, then hell yeah, why not keep using it. They earn it, they can do it.”

Lamoreaux-Tate has tried many different approaches to coaching her team in order to find which one suits the girls best.

“My coaching style… I am intense. Loving but very demanding,” Lamoreaux-Tate said. “I am only demanding because I know what they can give me and I expect that. I am extremely loud when they do something right and correct them and coach them when they do something wrong.”

Coaching to Lamoreaux-Tate is way more than just a job, it is a second family to her.

“There is just so much as a coach that you can do, but I still hesitate. If you are a true coach at heart, then you feel as if it is still deep down your fault whenever you lose,” Lamoreaux-Tate said. “I have tried basically everything, and there are probably a million other things I could try, but this is where we are at right now.”