Family Matters





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Family is what Caren Horstmeyer is all about. Cal's first-year women's basketball coach lives within shouting distance of her mother and mother-in-law.

About an hour and a half before a preseason game against Florida International, when a coach should be at her wits' end worrying about strategy, Horstmeyer is holding her four-month old son Arend, who is often the buzz around the office, where everyone wants to know, "Is Arend here today?"

During the contest, husband Bill is seated behind the bench, flanked by mom and mother-in-law, with the smallest member of the Horstmeyer clan in Bill's arms, rooting for his mom's Bears.

Earlier in the season, around 4 p.m., with practice right around the corner, Horstmeyer is on the phone, looking concerned.

Not just because a player she expects to contribute this season, Kiki Williams, is hobbling around the office in a walking boot. No, there is another concern.

Arend might have a cold and need to go to the doctor.

But that's Horstmeyer, worried about her family on and off the court.

To come to Cal, Horstmeyer left Santa Clara, the school, where she was head coach for 12 seasons and starred as a player.

"I was comfortable," Horstmeyer says. "I had a team that was going to be very good."

Nevertheless, when the Bears came to Horstmeyer about taking over at Cal, she brought her .641 career winning percentage to Berkeley in hopes of turning around a program that hasn't had a winning record or been to the postseason since 1993.

"I was looking for a new challenge," Horstmeyer says.

Part of the challenge Horstmeyer faced when she arrived was getting a team with seven seniors to buy into a new system.

Horstmeyer emphasized each player had to learn to trust each other.

"We talked about teamwork," Horstmeyer says. "And trust in teammates."

There were team outings, barbecues and two team building seminars Horstmeyer used to help bring the players together.

"Coach has facilitated us getting past our problems that had nothing to do with basketball," forward Lauren Ashbaugh says.

On the court, Horstmeyer is implementing a pressure-style defense. In practice and games, she has upped the intensity.

"She's made us work harder," guard Kenya Corley says.

Horstmeyer says the team challenged her early on, which Arend isn't old enough to do, but there have been no moves to revolt against her.

"She's demanding, but she's very fair," Ashbaugh says.

Horstmeyer also has the ability to stay positive when things go bad. Against Florida International, there were times when the team might have made a bad pass.

But Horstmeyer didn't slam her clipboard or chase an official down with more obscenities than an Allen Iverson album.

She just claps, and encourages the team to keep up the effort.

Family is what Caren Horstmeyer is all about.

Cal's first-year women's basketball coach lives within shouting distance of her mother and mother-in-law.

About an hour and a half before a preseason game against Florida International, when a coach should be at her wits' end worrying about strategy, Horstmeyer is holding her four-month old son Arend, who is often the buzz around the office, where everyone wants to know, "Is Arend here today?"

During the contest, husband Bill is seated behind the bench, flanked by mom and mother-in-law, with the smallest member of the Horstmeyer clan in Bill's arms, rooting for his mom's Bears.

Earlier in the season, around 4 p.m., with practice right around the corner, Horstmeyer is on the phone, looking concerned.

Not just because a player she expects to contribute this season, Kiki Williams, is hobbling around the office in a walking boot. No, there is another concern.

Arend might have a cold and need to go to the doctor.

But that's Horstmeyer, worried about her family on and off the court.

To come to Cal, Horstmeyer left Santa Clara, the school, where she was head coach for 12 seasons and starred as a player.

"I was comfortable," Horstmeyer says. "I had a team that was going to be very good."

Nevertheless, when the Bears came to Horstmeyer about taking over at Cal, she brought her .641 career winning percentage to Berkeley in hopes of turning around a program that hasn't had a winning record or been to the postseason since 1993.

"I was looking for a new challenge," Horstmeyer says.

Part of the challenge Horstmeyer faced when she arrived was getting a team with seven seniors to buy into a new system.

Horstmeyer emphasized each player had to learn to trust each other.

"We talked about teamwork," Horstmeyer says. "And trust in teammates."

There were team outings, barbecues and two team building seminars Horstmeyer used to help bring the players together.

"Coach has facilitated us getting past our problems that had nothing to do with basketball," forward Lauren Ashbaugh says.

On the court, Horstmeyer is implementing a pressure-style defense. In practice and games, she has upped the intensity.

"She's made us work harder," guard Kenya Corley says.

Horstmeyer says the team challenged her early on, which Arend isn't old enough to do, but there have been no moves to revolt against her.

"She's demanding, but she's very fair," Ashbaugh says.

Horstmeyer also has the ability to stay positive when things go bad. Against Florida International, there were times when the team might have made a bad pass.

But Horstmeyer didn't slam her clipboard or chase an official down with more obscenities than an Allen Iverson album.

She just claps, and encourages the team to keep up the effort.

"She has a lot of confidence in me," Corley says. "Even when my confidence falls."

This Sunday, Horstmeyer plays her old team at Haas Pavilion in the strangest of family reunions, against the coach she recommended for her old job.

"I don't necessarily like playing against friends," Broncos coach Chris Denker says. "We played Cal last year with Caren sitting on our bench."

Horstmeyer has distanced herself from the program as much as possible, but she sees her old players on occasion and keeps up on how they are playing.

"Outside of our game with them, I want them to be successful," Horstmeyer says.

Spoken just like a coach, and someone still looking out for her family. "She has a lot of confidence in me," Corley says. "Even when my confidence falls."

This Sunday, Horstmeyer plays her old team at Haas Pavilion in the strangest of family reunions, against the coach she recommended for her old job.

"I don't necessarily like playing against friends," Broncos coach Chris Denker says. "We played Cal last year with Caren sitting on our bench."

Horstmeyer has distanced herself from the program as much as possible, but she sees her old players on occasion and keeps up on how they are playing.

"Outside of our game with them, I want them to be successful," Horstmeyer says.

Spoken just like a coach, and someone still looking out for her family.

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