Caroline Coyer was all business on the court, and it shows. During her athletic career, Caroline was a two-time high school All-American and Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year at Oakton High School, where she was a three-year team captain. After Oakton, Caroline attended Villanova University, where she ultimately became an All-Big East Conference Point Guard, and had the honor of representing Team USA at the Pan American Games in Toronto.
Recently, Caroline sat down with The Zone to talk about her journey– from handling business on the court, to managing it off the court where she currently works at CBS Sports.
TZ: Hi, Caroline. Thank you for sitting down with us. How’s it going?
CC: Hey! No problem at all. My pleasure.
TZ: What are some of the characteristics basketball has taught you that have helped you become the person you are today?
CC: Basketball has taught me so many things to contribute to who I am today, that I almost don’t even know where to begin! I think first and foremost basketball has taught me about relationships, camaraderie, teamwork, and striving towards a common goal. The lessons that I have learned in working and competing with others have served me a tremendous amount in my personal and professional life. Learning what it means to be on a team and to care about those around you, as well as sacrificing for the team and playing your role to your best ability, are lessons that can be directly carried over to work, personal relationships, and family relationships alike. Additionally, basketball has taught me about the importance of hard work and dedication. It serves as an example of what you can accomplish when you are able to fully dedicate yourself to something you care about. Through competing I have been able to build confidence within myself that if I can put in the time and effort, I will be able to learn from those around me and ultimately succeed, no matter the circumstances. Even at times when I have not succeeded, the failures have taught me about perseverance and gaining the perspective in times of failure to know that I am getting stronger as I go.
TZ: As a high school All-American, what advice do you have for young female hoopers who are now going through the recruiting process themselves?
CC: My suggestion to young females going through the recruiting process would be to continue to work on all categories of your game, reach out to and talk to as many coaches & recruiters as you can, and never stop remembering why you love to play. Here are a few very important lessons I learned through not only playing, but also coaching and recruiting at the college level:
1. The recruiting process can be stressful and at times, can start to wear on you. You always want to be able to take a step back and remember that the reason you are doing this is because you love to play basketball, and to not let any kind of setbacks define you. There will be coaches who don’t believe in you, but that doesn’t mean that you are not capable of playing. There will be coaches out there that will see your full potential.
2. Continue to work on all categories of your game = dribbling, passing, shooting, defense, and rebounding. However, continuing to work on your game also means your attitude, your effort, your relationships with your teammates and coaches, and your schoolwork!!
3. Always treat everybody around you with respect. Whether it’s your parents who are taking you to games and paying for your gear, your teammates who you are playing with, your coaches who are teaching you, the referees, fans, or coaches who are recruiting you. Treat everyone with the same amount of respect.
TZ: You had the incredible honor of playing on Team USA, what type of traits did your teammates have that really stood out to you and helped you become better on and off the court?
CC: If there is one thing that I learned from my peers, both coaches and players, with team USA, is just the intensity and dedication that you should bring to the court each and every moment. Every practice, training session, film, game, etc. was executed with the most intensity and dedication. It was instilled in us from the first day that it was an honor to have the ability to play, and to be able to play with a ‘USA’ across our chests, therefore we should approach each day with a sense of pride and give it our all. Each of the girls were so impressive with the time and energy they put into the game. Whether it was their time on the court, or their habits off the court. If you want to be the best you have to hold yourself to the highest standard in everything that you do!
TZ: After basketball you joined CBS sports, what was the transition like into the corporate world and what advice do you give young women who are looking to do the same?
CC: Transitioning into the corporate world was difficult in some ways, and came naturally in others. I am fortunate enough to work in an environment where women are valued, with people I genuinely love working with, and have been able to stay close to something that I care about (sports!). The transition after college is very difficult. You go from being with your friends, in an environment where people really care about you, to a real world environment where you hope that everything you have learned has prepared you to excel and succeed on your own. Something that I discovered very quickly was that my experience playing sports, and especially team sports, has served me in SO many ways and has proven to be invaluable to my success. My advice to any woman who is working towards transitioning into the corporate world one day would be to join teams & clubs. Apply for leadership positions. Set yourself apart and invest in yourself! There is so much opportunity now for women in corporate America, all you have to do is prepare yourself. Also, make connections! Networking is everything. Every opportunity that I have had professionally has stemmed from a connection that I made and a relationship that I fostered. Always put your best foot forward; you never know who you’re going to meet! 🙂
TZ: What is one thing you know now about basketball/ life that you wish you knew when you were younger?
CC: The one thing that I think I wished I knew when I were younger would just be to enjoy every single moment, win or lose. I spent so much time stressed about my performance, recruiting, winning, etc. that I didn’t always take the time to relax and have fun. Keep in touch with teammates, coaches, and get to know the people in your basketball community. As you get older, you never know where you will end up or who you will reconnect with. My whole life my dad would always stress to me to give it my all and enjoy every moment, because you never know when it will be your last game. Mine came to a halt extremely abruptly my senior year of college when I tore my knee at the end of my senior season. I had spent so much of my college career nervous and stressed about winning games, and once my career was over, all I wanted to do was PLAY! It goes by fast, so just enjoy it! I PROMISE you that while you will look back and remember your best performances, you will more than likely cherish memories with teammates, road trips, inside jokes, and lessons that you learned off the court even more.
TZ: We want to thank you for sitting down with us today, Caroline. You continue to be everything The Zone stands for by being a well-rounded athlete and consistently making positive impacts within the community.
CC: Of course, thank you for having me!