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Kim Lawrence ’00 Won a State Title as a Woodward Student, Now Claims a Second as a Coach

In the moments after Woodward’s varsity girls basketball team won the 2021 state championship, Coach Kim Lawrence ’00 gave a silent prayer of thanks, turned and hugged her brother, and then she looked into the stands.

Smiling faces of teachers, staff, friends, and family members shone back at Lawrence, and she realized that many of them had been in the stands 22 years earlier, when Lawrence was a star player on the Woodward 1999 girls state championship team.

It was a moment that brought together the strands of what she calls her blessed and lucky life. 

“It was crazy, as I looked in the stands behind me, it was pretty reminiscent of my junior year and made me realize how truly blessed I am,” Lawrence said.

She is the first Woodward girls basketball state championship team member to go on to coach a Woodward varsity girls team to the championship, so this year’s win was a historic moment. Lawrence gives credit to the girls on the team and their relationships on and off the court. 

The team, made up of two seniors, six juniors, and three sophomores, was a joy to coach, she said. 

“At the beginning of the season, they set a goal of being state champs, inspired by our boys team’s victory in 2020, and they all worked together daily to make it happen,” she said. “I believe the success of this team resulted from the way they interacted with each other off the court. These girls truly love and respect each other. When you can get that kind of chemistry and have them all striving for the same thing, what can be accomplished is limitless. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment we shared.”

Joy and gratitude have been constants almost as long as Lawrence has been part of the Woodward community. 

“My Woodward story started, funny enough, with me not really wanting to be here,” she said. “I wanted to go to school with all my friends from middle and elementary school. My parents chose a different route for me, and it turned out to be a great decision. I came to Woodward as a freshman in 1996, and it has become like a second home to me. What I learned as a student-athlete has carried me through college, playing basketball overseas, and life in general.”

As a student, she took history from Dr. Jonathan Merrill (now Upper School principal and former girls basketball head coach with Lawrence as assistant). Her English classes were taught by Lucy Klein, who, along with her husband, was a constant in the stands in 1999 and 2021. 

“I still remember a couple of the card tricks I learned in the Magic Club with Coach [David] Widener, and playing basketball for Coach Jim Waller helped make me into the coach I am today,” Lawrence said 

Lawrence went on to play basketball and major in history at Furman University, then returned home to work for the Atlanta Hawks and the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office before moving to Holland to play pro basketball for three years. 

“Throughout all that time, I was constantly coming back to Woodward and training and/or coaching fall leagues.”

After her time in Europe, Lawrence worked as a substitute teacher at Woodward until she was hired as a teacher’s assistant, working with her WA 2000 classmate and third grade teacher Allyson Carroll. She was later Head Nurse Cheryl Minor’s assistant and is now a staff member in the Dean of Students’ office. Through it all, she coached for the girls basketball program, becoming varsity head coach in 2011. 

Ten years on and with a state championship in hand, Lawrence would love to see continued wins, but she says her primary focus is on being a good role model and graduating seniors with skills they can use to navigate the world and their lives. 

“I want to be someone who makes their four years of playing basketball fun while also teaching them about the work it takes to be successful in this game called life. I want them to learn how to communicate with others, lead others, and realize what they are capable of both individually and collectively,” she said. “I want to be the kind of coach that my players know that can always reach out to. I also want next year’s players to have a great season, whatever that looks like for them. I would love to put Woodward girls basketball on the map and give them national attention but more than that I want to ensure that each senior class leaves knowing that they left a legacy that they can be proud of.”

Coach Kim Lawrence
Kim Lawrence