Kate Bruce is eager for her new neighbors to come see her new team perform.
Bruce and her husband, Jesse, and their three children moved to Carmel after she took the IUPUI women’s basketball coaching job in May.
Bruce and Carmel High School boys basketball coach Ryan Osborn were speakers Aug. 26 at the Rotary Club of Carmel at Woodland Country Club.
Bruce played at Florida Gulf University under Karl Smesko and later became his graduate assistant. She served as an assistant coach at Youngstown State.
“We took over an 0-30 program (in 2009-10) and three years later we had won 23 games,” Bruce said.
When Youngstown State coach Bob Bolden took the Ohio University job, Bruce went with him.
“It was a similar story,” Bruce said
The team had won six games the season before Bolden arrived, and in his second season the team won the first of two consecutive Mid-American Conference championships.
She spent the past six seasons as head coach at Walsh University, a Division II school near Canton, Ohio. She had a 134-43 record with four trips to NCAA Division II tournament berths.
“Me and my husband wanted to find a place where I thought we could be successful as head coach and also a place where we could raise our family,” Bruce said. “IUPUI checked all those boxes.”
The Jaguars have eight returning players from last season’s 24-5 team. Bruce replaced Austin Parkinson, who took the Butler University coaching job.
“There are a lot of challenges taking over a new program where that program has been successful or not had success,” Bruce said. “There are 13 players on our roster, and 10 were recruited by another coaching staff, so building relationships is going to be the most important thing for us. So when adversity hits, we can lean on each other. Most of our summer was spent team bonding.”
Like Bruce, Osborn is eager for the season to start in November.
Osborn said the last two-plus seasons have been hard as a teacher and coach amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s knowing what you can and can’t do and keeping the kids safe,” Osborn said. “There have been a lot of distractions that were necessary, but we got away from what we had done to get our program where it is. So you get out of rhythm a little bit. This has been the most excited I’ve been for a school year in five years. The kids are smiling and they are always engaged. This season starting fresh has been extremely exciting.”
The Greyhounds finished 18-6, suffering their first postseason loss to Westfield in the sectional final since the 2018 Class 4A state championship. CHS won 4A state titles in 2019 and 2021. The 2020 postseason was canceled because of COVID-19 lockdowns after Carmel won the sectional title.