Member ConnectionNews

Interview with Carol Ann Smith

Carol Ann (Shudlick) Smith played college and pro basketball and now coaches the next generation of players. She gives us a look behind the scenes in this edition of “The Ford Member Connection.” We picked this photo of Carol Ann with the Library’s DVD Binge Boxes because her family likes to read and watch shows together, and she’s going to check out some of these themed collections to share on movie nights.

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and went to Apple Valley High School in one of the Twin Cities suburbs.

What sparked your interest in basketball and when did you start playing?

In third grade, I saw a flyer for a basketball camp. Our town of Kiester, Minnesota was so small, the coach also taught 3rd grade and Sunday school. There were nine girls and seven boys in my classroom throughout grammar school and junior high.

You were a Big Ten Player of the Year and a Kodak All-American from the University of Minnesota and, in 1994, the recipient of the Wade Trophy honoring the best player in women’s college basketball.

Then, you played pro ball in Spain, Sweden, and with the ABL-Columbus Quest and attended training camps with the WNBA Cleveland Rockers, and the Minnesota Lynx training camp.

Next, you became an assistant women’s basketball coach at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and worked in collegiate development at Michigan State University.

Please share a memory or two with us from those days.

My sister Nancy also played at Minnesota and we were a really close team, there was a lot of camaraderie on the road trips. I think it was an extraordinary group of women, and it was the start of being teammates for a lifetime. We went on to be bridesmaids in each others’ weddings and to go on family camping trips together.

When did you and Tom Smith get married?

2001. I met Tom when I played with the Quest; I’d become friends with my teammate Katie Smith, and Tom came to watch his sister play.

How long have you lived in Western Springs?

We were looking for a good location that would fit with Tom’s orthopedic practice, which Western Springs proved to be, so we moved here in 2010. I love this village and feel so lucky and thankful to have landed here.

What are the ages of your children?

Graham is 13, Gwen is 9, and Grant is 8. For Graham’s 13th birthday, we went to the Michigan State v Wisconsin game– MSU won.

Currently, you are the Program Director of 3rd/4th grade girls at LockDown Academy. How long have you been at LockDown and what does your work involve?

I started coaching when our older son was in 3rd grade–he’s now in 7th. The Niego family, who created LockDown, and everyone involved with it is a lot of fun. It’s a great group of people and a terrific environment for kids to learn basketball.

I coach and direct the 3rd and 4th grade girls’ programs and practices, which are twice a week, November through February. We also have school tournaments, 3 on 3, and 5 on 5.

Is your daughter involved in girls’ basketball? Comments?

When our daughter got to 3rd grade, we were able to create a program for girls of that age. It’s fun for kids to spend time with me outside of “Mom things.”

At what age would you recommend children begin playing sports?

As soon as they show an interest, they should start playing, and they should do more than one sport: each sport uses different muscles and thinking skills, so the more variety, the better. My family has a lot of fun playing basketball and other sports together.

We know you’re also a Library fan. How does your family use Thomas Ford?

We all love reading. I’m in a book club and try to get my books through the Library. We do a lot of reading together, and really enjoy books in a series. When I was a kid, I loved mysteries and the Boxcar Children series. Some of what my family and I choose now? How to Train Your Dragon, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the Secret series. We can’t get enough of listening to the Harry Potter series together. We also like watching movies as a family and I look forward to bringing home some of those Binge Boxes. Being a sports-loving family, we particularly enjoyed Hoosiers, Rudy, and McFarland USA.

The Library staff has been so helpful to us with school projects; I’d like to give a shout out to my friend Catherine in Youth Services for her assistance with our Julie Andrews bottle biography project!

Parting thoughts?

Volunteer to be a coach! It’s a rewarding and fun way to spend time with your children and your community.

“The Ford Member Connection” spotlights Western Springs residents with interesting stories and relationships to the Library. Please let us know whom you’d like to read about.