Basketball legend Laurie Byrd has been named head coach of the MiraCosta College women’s basketball program, taking the reins of the Spartans after an outstanding career on both the college and professional ranks as a player and championship coach.
Byrd comes to MiraCosta after a hall of fame career at Eastern Michigan University where she scored 1,899 points and was one of only four players ever to have their jersey retired. Following her standout career, she had a 15-year career as a professional player in Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and Sweden, as well as in the American Basketball League, Women’s American Basketball Association, and Women’s National Basketball Association.
Standing only five feet six inches, Byrd has always cast a greater presence, whether on the court or on the sidelines. In 2001 Coach Byrd was inducted into The Greater Flint African American Sports Hall of Fame and was nominated to the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2013. She has been inducted into the Eastern Michigan Hall of Fame and earned the 2004 Legends of Basketball Award, and Think Detroit Honorary Coach of the Year.
“I come from a family of boxers who taught me to play bigger than you are, to stick to the fundamentals, and to work hard. That’s what I want to teach my players at MiraCosta College,” Byrd said.
Byrd was assistant coach for the University of Detroit and Detroit Shock, where she helped the team win a championship in 2003. As an assistant coach, she worked for the New York Liberty and Washington Mystics. She also served as director of player personnel for the Houston Comets.
After the wear and tear of eight years of coaching in the WNBA, Byrd moved closer to family to coach her nephew at Santa Fe Christian High School from 2011–19.
Byrd takes over after one of the best seasons notched by the MiraCosta College women’s basketball program. The team went 17–9, making it to the second round of the CCCAA State Championship tournament. The historic season closed a four-year run by MiraCosta Coach Kai Harris who accepted the head coaching position at University of Saint Katherine, a four-year college in San Marcos, California.
Byrd plans to build on that success by reaching beyond the MiraCosta College campus and out to players throughout the region.
“I want our team and staff to spread awareness about our basketball program to young student-athletes by serving the community through camps, clinics and club basketball,” said Byrd. “I want students to know there is an opportunity for you get an education at MiraCosta College, develop your game, and perhaps play at the next level.