Lisa LaVan. Photo by Mark Evans

LaVan Announces Resignation as WAHS Girls’ Basketball Coach

May 28, 2024

WARREN, Pa. – After 16 years, more than 265 wins, seven 1,000-point scorers, four District 10 titles, and the program’s first PIAA Tournament win, Lisa LaVan announced Tuesday that she is stepping down as Warren Area High School girls’ basketball coach.

“It’s been an extraordinary ride,” LaVan said in a social media post. “Coaching high school basketball demands relentless dedication, unwavering focus, and a steadfast commitment to nurturing not only athletes but also individuals.”

LaVan took over in 2008 and has guided the Lady Dragons to unparalleled success. Warren amassed a 268-122 record in LaVan’s tenure. In 2016 Warren won its first District 10 title, then they won again in 2018, and went back-to-back in 2021 and 2022. The Dragons finished as district runner-up this past season but won the program’s first PIAA tournament game in an overtime thriller.

“My primary goal was to cultivate a family atmosphere where every young lady on my team felt cherished and empowered to embrace their true selves,” LaVan said. “Little did I know the profound impact it would have on my life.”

There are 12 1,000-point scorers in Lady Dragons basketball history, and LaVan has coached seven of them, including the program’s all-time leading scorer Margo Loutzenhiser. In her statement, LaVan admitted to being tough to play for at times but hoped that hard coaching instilled valuable life lessons.

“To my players – the heart and soul of this program – words cannot express the profound impact you’ve had on my life,” LaVan said. “As I reflect on our shared experiences, I am filled with pride and gratitude for the privilege of coaching each and every one of you. While I may not have always been the easiest coach to play for, I hope that I’ve instilled in you the importance of hard work, determination, and resilience.”

LaVan had the privilege of coaching her three daughters, Emma, Gracie, and Sammie, throughout their high school careers. With all three embarking on their collegiate journeys, Emma and Sammie playing basketball at Hillsdale and D’Youville, respectively, and Gracie at FIT in New York City, LaVan said she wants to “shift my focus.”

“Coaching my three daughters at the high school level has been an unparalleled blessing, as their love for the game mirrored my own,” LaVan said. “To my three girls . . . thank you for your unwavering support and understanding. Your willingness to share me with our basketball family has not gone unnoticed, and I am forever grateful for your sacrifices and encouragement.”

LaVan thanked her husband, Tim, her parents, and her assistant coaches for their support.

“To my husband, Tim, your love and faith have been my rock on the toughest of days, and I couldn’t have navigated this journey without you by my side,” LaVan said. “A heartfelt thank you to my parents, the epitome of unwavering support and encouragement. And to my dear friend and coaching confidante, John White, whose steadfast presence has been a source of strength throughout the years.”

Though ready to embark on a new chapter in her life, LaVan also left the door open for a return to the bench in the future.

“As I say goodbye to the sidelines and embark on a new chapter of my life, I do so with a sense of eager anticipation for the adventures that lie ahead,” LaVan said. “I hope to be back on the sideline someday when the time is right. Life is short. Enjoy the moments.”

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