Veteran high school basketball coach, educator, and 1996 Concordia graduate Laurie (Baldwin) Sieben is back at the college after being named the assistant women’s basketball coach.

“I’ve coached for 25 years, but I’m a rookie at the collegiate level,” Laurie says. “It’s been uncomfortable at times, but there’s been a lot of growth. It’s been really good.”

Not only does the move allow Laurie to retrace her Cobber roots, but it’s also giving her the opportunity to coach one of her daughters again. Carlee Sieben ’25 is a guard on the team. Laurie was Carlee’s high school coach in Grafton, N.D., so the transition has been smooth.

“She doesn’t treat me any differently from the other players and never has,” Carlee says. “Most people didn’t know she was my mom.”

In high school, Carlee was a top prospect for Concordia but took an opportunity to play Division I basketball close to home. After a year at the University of North Dakota, Carlee weighed her options for her remaining three years and decided to become a Cobber.

“It was a really tough decision, but it’s been good,” she says. “I have a lot of support on both teams.”

Playing basketball is what originally drew Laurie to attend Concordia – that, and a family connection with her grandmother attending the college to become a teacher. Now, as the assistant coach and a health instructor, Laurie is reminded of the benefits of being a student-athlete at Concordia.

“We have a bunch of Midwestern ladies who really get after it,” she says. “They are trying to be the best versions of themselves in the classroom and on the court.”

Both the classroom and the court is where Carlee hopes to end up, following in her mom’s footsteps to be an elementary teacher and basketball coach. Time will tell if her career brings her full circle back to Concordia like Laurie.

“Some of my best relationships are the ones that I’ve connected with at Concordia, and it’s just pretty fun how it’s worked out to have a front row seat with Carlee here,” Laurie says. “I’m really grateful to Coach Kim Wagers and everyone at Concordia for this career change. It’s been surreal.”

Originally published in the 2023 Concordia Magazine