This may be Carrie Moore’s first time in the top job of a program, but the new and inaugural Kathy Delaney-Smith Head Coach for Harvard Women’s Basketball has a long resume. The Michigan native spent 17 years as an assistant coach, recruiting coordinator, and director of operations at Princeton, Creighton, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Michigan. She had an outstanding collegiate playing career at Western Michigan University — leading the nation in scoring her senior year — and was recently inducted into the WMU Athletics Hall of Fame. Moore also played professionally in Poland. The interview was edited for clarity and length.
GAZETTE: You’ve been on campus for more than six months now, and the basketball season officially kicks off Nov. 7 against the University of Rhode Island. How are you settling in?
MOORE: The transition has been really incredible. Boston is such a great city. I’m tremendously lucky to have landed at Harvard for so many reasons, but mainly the people. Everyone has been so welcoming to me and our staff. I feel so grateful to work with our team. I love coming to work every day — I really do.
My partner Azia and I are also trying to get our condo together. I’m a big foodie, so I’ve been trying to go to some different food spots when I can. My brother and I went to Committee, a Greek place in the Seaport, last weekend. We had a great time. That is by far one of my new favorites!
GAZETTE: Before arriving in Cambridge, you served as an assistant coach at some outstanding schools. So far, how does Harvard compare to your previous experiences?
MOORE: I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work at some amazing places and also with some really great people. Obviously the academic opportunity here speaks for itself, and our basketball program has had tremendous success in the past. This is a place that our players can have it all. We strive to be the best that we can, on and off the floor. That’s something that from high school on has been very important to me, and I wanted to find a place that really aligned with the true student-athlete experience. Harvard is the epitome of that.
GAZETTE: What is the one of the most impactful lessons that you’ve learned from a coach you worked with or played for?
MOORE: I have learned so much from all of them. One person who really stands out is my high school coach, [Detroit Country Day legend Frank Orlando]. I never met any of my grandfathers, so he essentially stepped into that role for me. We had a saying with our high school team —“Believe it.” It set the tone every single day for us to really believe in everything that we could accomplish on and off the basketball court. We said it every day, in all of our huddles. It instilled in me an incredible work ethic to strive to be the best version of myself every day.
I’ve now carried that on to our program here. It’s our motto. It’s on a lot of our gear. Before practice, after practice, it’s always, “One, two, three … Believe it.” I really want to instill that belief in our team here.
GAZETTE: You are the fourth coach in program history and the first to hold the title of Kathy Delaney-Smith Head Coach for Harvard Women’s Basketball, endowed in honor of your predecessor, who retired this past spring after 40 years at the helm. How do you hope to build on Delaney-Smith’s legacy, and how do you hope to chart your own path?
MOORE: Everyone I meet around Cambridge and Harvard has said, “Wow, you’re replacing a legend. You’ve got big shoes to fill.” And I always say, “Luckily enough, I’ve got big feet!”
I feel like I’m the right person for it. I don’t see it as pressure; I see it as a tremendous opportunity. Kathy coached here longer than I’ve been alive — it’s hard to soak that in. She’s done everything that I hope to do here. I want to win Ivy Championships and games in NCAA Tournaments. I want to really develop young women and prepare them for life.
I hope our legacy is that we’re part of a new generation of Harvard Women’s Basketball. This University is surrounded by excellence, and we want this team to continue to be a part of that. It’s a new look. It’s a new face. I really just want to be myself and bring my personality, my intensity, my competitiveness … and we’re very excited to see what we can do.
GAZETTE: What is your vision for the Harvard Women’s Basketball program under your leadership? What does success look like?
MOORE: We talk about our core values being unity, grit, integrity, and joy. That’s what we want our program to be about. We will never get this particular Harvard Women’s Basketball team back, so we want to make sure that we’re really enjoying the moment.
I have such a tremendous platform here at Harvard to really pour into our players, and that’s just on the court. But we are also coaching the game of life. We have a great opportunity to build these women up to be the best versions of themselves through the four years that they’re here and send them off upon graduation to set the world on fire.
GAZETTE: Are there goals or expectations that you’ve set with the team for this season?
MOORE: We want to dive into the process, and let the outcome take care of itself. We talk about winning an Ivy Championship — there’s no reason this team can’t accomplish that. We’re excited to take each opponent one at a time and learn through each game what type of team we are, and what type of team we can be.
I’m a first-time head coach, and I’m learning every single day, and our players and staff are, too. I’m so grateful that this group of young women chose Harvard and that our paths are crossing. I will never forget this team — they will always be my first team.