Lady ‘Riders welcome new assistant coach

By Ryan Land
Sports Editor

The Lady ‘Riders basketball team will have a new face standing alongside Head Coach Tina Robbins on the sidelines this coming season.

Laura Horzempa, 28, will take over the assistant coach’s job from previous job holder Melanie Bowers.

Horzempa was born on May 16, 1985 in Rochester, N.Y. While growing up in the suburbs of northeastern Dallas, her love for basketball began while shooting hoops with her older brother as a kid. That passion would stick around with her throughout her high school experience, as she became a four-year letterman for Rowlett High School in Garland, Texas.

Like most athletes, Horzempa enjoyed playing the game she loved, but injuries would also come and go over time.

“I tore my left ACL when I was 11 and was braced for a couple seasons after that,” said Horzempa. “I still played all throughout middle school and then during my senior year, I tore my right ACL.”

Even though Horzempa had to sit out through a portion of her senior season because of that injury, she still stuck by her team and cheered them all the way to the state semi-finals. That moment, according to her, would stick out as a memory she would never forget.

“We were not that well known,” admitted Horzempa. “We didn’t have exceptional players either. We had a good solid base team with a one star kinda thing. Everyone was athletic and we just worked well together. It was a big accomplishment.”

Upon completion of high school, Horzempa would hang up the basketball jersey for good and move to Nashville, Tenn. to start her college years at Belmont University.

Horzempa stated that her torn right ACL injury during her senior year played a role in her decision to not play college basketball.

“I just thought well maybe it’s my time to put it [basketball] aside,” explained Horzempa.

In 2007, Horzempa went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in business management at Belmont. Soon after graduation, she would put the hard earned degree to good use in the city of country music.

“I worked doing books in business management for musicians in Nashville,” said Horzempa. “I took care of the money going in and the money coming out.”

Whenever Horzempa was not found keeping up with the financial books for big name musicians like Lee Ann Womack and CeCe Winans, she would be at the local gym teaching fitness classes, as well as serving as a personal trainer.

After working in the business entertainment field for a few years, Horzempa came to the conclusion that an interest in the teachings of health and science would override her passion for the profession of business management.

“My mom had her own private pre-school and my brother became a doctor, so he was big into teaching and health and science,” said Horzempa. “Teaching was a big thing in our life and it’s kind of an interest in my life that I wanted to get back into.”

Horzempa quickly realized that doing “inside office work” and constant traveling was something she did not prefer.

“When you get to your thirties, you want to settle down more,” said Horzempa. “Traveling and the music industry would be fun, but if I wanted to have a family, it would not be the direction I would go in necessarily.”

Horzempa found out about a job opening for the assistant coach’s position here at Crowder, through not only a former coach of the Lady ‘Riders, but also a former high school teammate.

“We always stayed in touch and she knew that there may be a job up here and thought I would be a good fit,” Horzempa stated.

Horzempa, who is set to begin her first official coaching job this season, said she expects to see members of the team grow and understand the college level of basketball.

“When you go to the college level, you have to be tougher and work harder,” replied Horzempa. “I think I want to see the girls grow in that aspect. It’s not necessarily should we have a winning season but should our girls understand and grow. That would kind of be an expectation I would like to see this season.”