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Player Bios-Caires

Karen Caires
Position: Head Coach

Head coach Karen Caires took the helm of the Grossmont College Women's Basketball program in the 2002-2003 season.

Caires is no stranger to women's basketball. Her 20 years of coaching experience range from the West coast to the East coast, and from the high school level to major Division I basketball. She began her coaching career at her alumni, Cypress College as an Assistant from 1989 to 1992. In 1992, Caires took over the John F. Kennedy High School girls' basketball program. In her two years leading the Fighting Irish they posted two 2nd round CIF appearances and sent two players to the Division I level.

In 1994 Caires accepted her first Division I position at the University of Vermont as Assistant Coach and by 1996 was promoted to Associate Head Coach. Her responsibilities at the University of Vermont included recruiting, defensive coordination, player development, academic monitoring, strength and conditioning, fundraising, directing summer camps, and assisting in implementation of the kids' club. In her three years at UVM, the program was rebuilt and went from an 11-17 record to an 18-11 second place finish in the America East Conference. Caires was instrumental in getting the University of Tennessee to play in their Howard Bank Classic Christmas Tournament. This helped Coach Pat Summit finally get to one of the four states she had yet to experience. Caires was also credited for signing the first California recruit to the University of Vermont, and the player came from the California Community College system.

In 1997, Caires returned to the west coast and entered the coaching ranks of the Pacific-10 Conference at Oregon State University. She spent only one year at OSU under Coach Judy Spoelstra because she was offered the assistant coaching position at the University of Arizona. This afforded her the opportunity to not only remain in the Pac-10 Conference but also to be closer to her family in Orange County, CA. In addition, Arizona was one of Coach Caires' dream schools and she aspired to coach at the McKale Center ever since the first time she set foot there as a summer camp coach in 1992. In Caires' tenure at the University of Arizona from 1998 to 2002, Arizona advanced to two 2nd round NCAA appearances and had several players on the All Conference Pac-10 team throughout the years. In addition, Arizona had players advance to the WNBA and play overseas.

In 2002, Caires was offered a position to instruct and coach at Grossmont College. She accepted the offer because it afforded her the opportunity to come full circle and give back to the level that launched her career and be closer to her family. In 2003 and 2006 Coach Caires was blessed with the birth of her daughters, Katherine "Katie" Ann Caires and Kennedy Rae Caires, respectively.

Coach Caires obtained her Associate of Science degree from Cypress College and her B.A. degree from Cal State University Northridge in Kinesiology. She started at Cypress College in 1985 and obtained a medical red shirt due to a torn ACL injury. Caires played at Cypress College from 1986 to 1988 and for both years was named to the Orange Empire All Conference first team. Caires was also team captain for both years and was an integral part of the Cypress Chargers Orange Empire Conference Championship team that posted a 10-0 undefeated season record. Caires also received The California Community College Scholastic achievement award, which is given to only 18 recipients throughout the state of California. Following her career at Cypress College, Caires received a scholarship to Cal State University Northridge to play women's basketball. After playing for one year for the Matadors, she was sidelined due to a knee injury. Caires continued her education at Cal State University Long Beach where she received her M.A. degree in pedagogy and coaching.

In Caires' first season at Grossmont the Griffins posted only a 4-24 season record; however, the groundwork for a new era had begun. The 2003-04 season improved to an 11-13 overall record and a fourth place conference finish. Grossmont finished conference play in front of Mesa and Cuyamaca College. The 2004-05 campaign erupted into a 20-7 season record and the team qualified for playoffs.

In the 2005-06 campaign the Griffins finished second in the Pacific Coast Conference and 17-14 overall.

The 2006-2007 year was a rebuilding year for the Griffins and Grossmont finished at fourth in the conference and posted only a 10-18 season. The 2007-2008 season was an exciting one as the team finished with a 19-11 overall record and a second place finish in the Pacific Coast Conference. On a larger scale four of the five sophomores went onto play: Shatori Dearman and Brionna Baker signed with Cal State Los Angeles, Alexis Bertelsen is continuing her play at Cal State Monterey Bay, and Megan Ehmke has stayed in town at our very own UCSD. Of note, is that three of the four players will be first generation college graduates.

Caires not only knows but also values the impact the Grossmont College Women's Basketball program and family is making in her tenure here in El Cajon. It is a wonderful community surrounding the "G-House."

With the help of the dedicated high school coaches and Caires' assistant coach and former player Kayla Henry, the Griffins are on track to become a fierce competitor in the Pacific Coast Conference.

In addition to basketball and her team, Caires enjoys spending time with her family and friends, raising her children, boogie boarding, running, boating, and all water sports.

Last Updated: 10/22/2014
  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District