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Carla Berube Wins Co-Developmental Coach of the Year for Second Straight Year

  • Author:
    Gary R. Blockus, Red Line Editorial
  • Date:
    Dec 6, 2018


Carla Berube fell in love the first time she picked up a basketball in the fourth grade.


“I always felt like I wanted to be a part of this game,” she said. “I had such an incredible ride, both in high school and college. It was such a vital part of my evolution as a person, I wanted to give back and be a positive role model and help these young women in their formative years, help them with things going on in their lives, push them to be the best they can be on and off the court.”


Berube has done all that and more, and she’s being recognized for the second-straight year as a co-recipient of the USA Basketball Developmental Coach of the Year award.


This year, Berube led the USA Women’s U17 World Cup Team to a sparkling 7-0 record to win the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup that ran July 21-29. The U.S. dominated the tournament, beating seven straight opponents by an average of 40.0 points, including France 92-40 in the final.


Honored alongside Berube is the other co-recipient, Don Showalter, who led the USA U17 men to a FIBA U17 World Cup title. This is the second consecutive year the two coaches have been co-winners. 


“It’s quite an honor to be recognized and honored by USA Basketball along with coach Showalter, who is just an amazing coach and has done so many good things with the men’s program,” Berube said. “It’s been such a privilege to work with USA Basketball and coach the players I have been lucky enough to coach, and work alongside such an amazing staff. It’s been an incredible journey.”


Winning is a cultivated habit for Berube, a product of work ethic and talent. As a player, she led her Oxford High School team to a pair of Massachusetts state titles in 1991 and 1992, then led the University of Connecticut to the 1995 NCAA title.


Now in her 17th season as women’s coach at Tufts University, she has led the Jumbos to 10 NCAA Division III National Tournament appearances, four straight Final Fours (2014-17) and two straight championship game appearances (2016-17). In 2015, she won the Pat Summitt Trophy as the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) National Coach of the Year for Division III. 


This year, Berube took a team of young women with little to no experience playing with each other and molded them into a championship team, leading to Jordan Horston being named MVP of the tournament while Aliyah Boston and Haley Jones were named to the World Cup five-member, all-tournament team.


Berube said it helped that her assistant coaches from the 2017 USA Women’s U16 National Team, which that won the FIBA Americas U16 Championship, were back on board this year. They included Steve Gomez (Lubbock Christian University) and prep coach Vanessa Nygaard of Windward School in California.


“They are incredible coaches, and I learned so much in X’s and O’s from both of them,” she said.


The three coaches together have forged a 12-0 record over the last two years.


“We had relatively a short amount of time to get this team to develop chemistry both on and off the court,” Berube said. “I thought Women’s National Team Director Carol Callan and our staff did a great job of coming up with activities off court to strip away the, ‘I’m No. 1 in my class’ attitude so they could be kids, just teenagers getting to know each other in a short amount of time. They bonded well, and you could tell they played on court for the U.S. and each other. It was about us. I’ve never been around a team so selfless and unselfish.”


The team was named in May, after which they had a month off and then reported to camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where dinner at Callan’s house became a lesson in team-building and leadership. The team broke into smaller groups in charge of shopping for and planning the various meal courses, and then they worked together to prepare the meal. 


Berube said there were ping pong tournaments and other off-court activities, along with watching a documentary on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg that led to talks on leadership, what it meant to give up personal goals for team goals and what it means to be a strong woman. 


Berube could not limit herself to only one most memorable moment with the team and the experience of winning the World Cup, but pointed to the experience of standing atop the podium after winning gold and watching the excitement visibly show on the girls’ faces. 


“I’m sure some of these girls will be able to stay with USA Basketball going forward,” Berube said, “but they will always have these 11 other great friends that they shared these experiences with for the rest of their lives. I feel so grateful to have been a part of that … USA Basketball is an incredibly well-run organization with the right people involved, doing the right things. It shows with how dominant USA has become.”


Gary R. Blockus is a freelance contributor to USAB.comon behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.


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