“I’m capable of doing anything,” said University of Wisconsin-Platteville alumna Lisa Karau ’16. “I’m there not only to challenge myself, but to show others that anything is possible.”
Karau is breaking down barriers as she becomes the fourth woman in Wisconsin to lead a high school boys basketball program. She will embark on her first season as the Ashland boys varsity coach in the 2019-20 school year while also teaching elementary physical education.
Prior to her new position at Ashland, Karau was the head varsity coach for the Tomahawk girls basketball team the past two seasons. “Coaching has always been a really big passion of mine and to be given the opportunity to be the head boys coach was an awesome feeling,” she said.
To help ease the adjustment, throughout the summer Karau introduced herself to high school athletes, their families, and to the Ashland community. During her meet and greets Karau said she’s received a welcoming reception and feels grateful to have met so many parents. “I want to share my coaching philosophies. I want to share my experiences. Starting off new I want to learn and grow this program,” she said. “Everyone has been really supportive; having that is going to help me become a better coach, but help the boys feel good.”
With such few women coaching varsity boys basketball she hopes this teaches her elementary school students a valuable lesson. “It will give them a different perspective with diversity, cultures, and different things that are happening out there in the world. Women can do anything and everything just like males can.”
As Karau looks ahead to the school year and the upcoming season, she’s using her experience as a student-athlete and education from UW-Platteville to help her with the transition. She said she’s received a lot of support from her professors and classmates.
“My teachers and professors in the Health and Human Performance program were amazing. We share our experiences in what’s going on in our teaching and coaching career,” she said. “I’ve been able to reach out and talk to my peers and my professors. They have always been there to answer my questions.”
When the Oredockers step out onto the court for their first practice, Karau said she’s going to emphasize to her team to respect her program, Ashland, and themselves. “If the boys are on the same page with what I’m trying to establish, we are going to create something great for the program and we’re going to see success throughout it.”