There’s cause for celebration among the Kilkenny basketball faithful this week with the news that Loreto standout Lucy Coogan has secured a four year basketball scholarship to Cordell University in New Jersey, US.
Celebrating her 18th birthday today, Coogan is currently in Cardiff, Wales, with the Irish Under 18 team for the 2022 Four Nations tournament, underway this Wednesday.
We spoke to Lawrence ‘Puff’ Summers, Coogan’s coach in Kilkenny, to find out what the scholarship and opportunity means.
“I kind of forgot how hard it was”, Summers told Scoreline this week, “it’s been so long since I’ve been in college.”
“It’s something she’s been dreaming of since she was 11-years-old when I started working her up, so this was always a goal we kind of had. I didn’t see anything other than her getting to this point.”
“When I step back and really look at it and say ‘wow, this Kilkenny girl is now going to a four-year university in America’, it’s quite a feat alright.”
“I think I started training her when she was ten years old. She came to me one Friday, her mom was like ‘we think she has a bit of talent, will you develop here’, and I said ‘yeah, sure’ because I wasn’t sure. She was a star in her own right at that age, a bundle of energy and she kept coming back every Friday. Then it became Monday, Friday. Then Monday, Friday, Saturday and it took off from there.”
“We always say pressure is a privilege, so that fact that she’s fighting against the odds of getting to a college and making the Irish team. When she was Under 15 she got cut from the Irish team, she wasn’t even considered at all. She came back to make the Under 16s but then Covid hit. Last summer she finally broke through and made the Irish team a year young and was a star of the Europeans, leading scorer for the Irish team.”
“She kept her head down, kept working and thankfully this opportunity has come up for her.”
You can hear the full interview back from the 30-minute mark in the latest Full Time podcast.