Hoops run in the Chris Carr family.
So, when they talk about the upcoming coaching clash between the two Carr daughters, expect plenty of friendly banter.
And feisty barbs.
Take this exchange between Cait Carr (first-year head coach at Auburn Mountainview High School) and Aly (Carr) Lacey (first-year head coach at Kentlake) when asked about any trash talk over the holidays.
Cait: “Personally, I didn’t want to talk about it. I just don’t want anyone to feel bad. And I also want Aly to succeed.”
Aly: “Oh, sandbagger! You don’t want me to feel bad.” (Eyeroll included)
Cait: “I don’t want you to feel bad, and I also don’t want to talk crap and you guys come out and beat us.”
Aly: “You’d better control your assistant coach!”
Ah, yes, the assistant coach. That would be dad, Chris Carr, who has a coaching history at both schools and is now athletic director at Auburn Mountainview.
After Cait was hired as Mountainview’s head coach last summer (a process Chris was not involved in), she asked him to be her assistant coach.
He accepted, with slight reservations. Chris had been out of the game for nine seasons and was used to being in charge when he was on the court. His last experience as an assistant coach was back in 1992.
“It’s been challenging to say the least,” he said. “It’s a different role for me. She’s my boss now. She’s in charge, and sometimes I forget that, and (one) night I got her her first T (technical).”
Chris was known for his fiery, passionate coaching style at Kentlake and Mountainview, and before that at White River and Yelm. He started the boys program when Kentlake opened in 1995 and founded the girls program at Auburn Mountaiview in 2005.
He transitioned to coaching girls at Kentlake in ’99, in part looking ahead to the opportunity to coach his daughters.
Cait (28) and Aly (26) grew up in the gym, serving as ball girls for Chris’ teams and playing for him at Auburn Mountainview.
As wife and mother, Marla Carr was a constant fixture in the stands and will be on hand when Mountainview and Kentlake clash in a North Puget Sound League game Tuesday.
She promises to remain neutral.
“I think I’m going to sit right in the middle, and I’m going to cheer for both teams,” she said.
Chris and Cait aren’t buying it.
“Wrong answer,” Chris said, with Cait quickly agreeing.
“Mom is going to cheer for Aly,” she said.
“She thinks it’s two on one,” Chris explained. “She wants to even it up a little bit. And I don’t blame her. Plus, she’s always rooting for the underdog.”
Aly laughed at that and said, “Oh, ouch!”
“Shot fired!” Chris added.
Welcome to Marla’s world.
“This is what it’s been like since the season started,” she said.
When either daughter calls, she knows it’s not for her.
“Where’s dad? Who’s he talking to?”
“He’s giving advice to both girls,” said Marla, who contributed to the coaching genes as former a former volleyball mentor at Green River Community College. “It’s a good two hours a night.”
No one in the family really saw this coming as the girls grew up. Cait and Aly clearly wanted to follow in their parents’ footsteps as teachers. But coaching?
Cait said she knew early on that’s what she wanted to coach but wasn’t sure about Aly.
“I thought maybe she’d be my assistant at some point, but now I’m coaching against her,” Cait said.
“That’s funny,” Aly countered, “I always thought you’d be my assistant.”
Cait got her coaching baptism as an assistant at Cheney High School in 2015-16 while doing her student teaching. After one season at Tahoma, she was an assistant at White River from 2017-2021, also serving as the Hornets’ head volleyball coach from 2018-20.
Aly spent three seasons on Kennedy Catholic’s staff and was hired last July to take over a struggling Kentlake program, which hasn’t posted a winning season since 2017-18.
It hasn’t been easy, in part due to the team’s two COVID-19 pauses — the first of which wiped out an earlier coaching showdown with Cait as part of a planned home-and-home series.
Kentlake (1-8) ends the second pause just in time for Tuesday’s game.
Aly knew Mountainview had a coaching vacancy last summer but not a teaching position. That played into her decision to apply at Kentlake, where she teaches social studies, because her parents taught her the value of being an in-building coach.
“I also wanted to blaze my own path,” she said. “I think it would be awesome to coach with Cait and Dad, but it’s awesome to be able to go back to a program where I’ve witnessed and experienced the traditions and the dedication and the hard work and the banners that he (Dad) has hung in the gym at Kentlake, and to hopefully get that program where I once remembered it.”
Chris had some powerhouses at Kentlake, earning three state trophies.
He went 124-33 in eight seasons at Auburn Mountainview, earning state trophies in 2007 and 2011, when Cait was a junior and Aly a sophomore. He retired in 2013.
Cait, now the school’s Dean of Students, is Mountainview’s third head coach since then. The Lions started slowly this season at 0-5 but are headed into the weekend at 4-7.
Chris said both daughters are much calmer on the court than he was as a head coach.
“Thank God we have a lot of our Mom in us,” Aly said with a laugh.
Chris was known as a yeller who let someone — everyone else in the gym — know when she made a mistake, Aly and Cait agree. But players knew he loved and cared for them and wanted to play for him.
“We’re not him, that’s for sure, but we have a little bit of him in us,” Cait said.
That showed when Aly drew her first technical in a lopsided loss to Kentwood and said she earned it.
“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” she said.