DURHAM, N.C.-- GoDuke.com recently sat down with former Duke women's basketball student-athlete Carey Kauffman, who played for the Blue Devils from 1992-95, to see what she is doing these days, get her thoughts on Duke women's basketball and to reflect on her time in Durham.
Kauffman went from playing on a 14-win team as a freshman to winning 22 contests as a senior for the Blue Devils. In 1994-95, she guided Duke to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and played in the legendary four overtime contest against Alabama. Kauffman was a second team All-ACC selection in both 1994 and 1995 for the Blue Devils.
GoDuke.com: Give us a run down on what you are doing now.
Carey Kauffman: Trying to find that perfect balance between family, work and giving back! I started a technology marketing business five years ago that has kept me very busy. It also gave me the flexibility I was looking for to start a family. When I'm not with friends, family or working, I volunteer my time with the Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD) Foundation. I recently became a certified health coach and I am contemplating evolving my tech businesses into health/wellness business as helping people live better is far more compelling than helping technology companies get rich.
GD: What does the Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD) Foundation help with?
CK: The PCDF is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote research, increase public awareness and provide support services for those affected by PCD - a disease caused by defects in the cilia (microscopic 'hairs' that line the respiratory tract, sinuses, tubes of the ear, ventricles of the brain, and reproductive organs.) PCD patients, if they survive infancy, are on a lifelong mission to prevent complete lung destruction. This is daily battle that entails constant, exhausting vigilance. I work with the PCDF in memory of my son, Conor, who lost his battle to fight the disease because there is so little awareness, no cure and few treatments for PCD. That will change if I can help it! :)
GD: Do you have a spouse and children?
CK: Yes. Happily married with a three year old daughter and twins on the way in September.
GD: What do you like best about your career?
CK: The lifelong friends I made, the appreciation I have for competing in a sport I love at that level and the life lessons I learned along the way that serve me well to this day. Also, we got to see both sides of the ACC- the bottom end when I came in as a freshman and the top end when we left.
GD: What was it like to close out your career winning 22 games, after starting with 14 as a freshman?
CK: The words that come to mind are 'a great sense of accomplishment.' Those early days were extremely tough to say the least. It's no fun to put your heart and soul into something only to lose so many games. We knew we had the potential and never gave up. In the end, every team member worked very hard to each of those 22 wins - and that made me feel like all of the sweat and tears were worth it.
GD: Do you come across many Duke fans?
CK: Yes. They are everywhere! :)
GD: Do you still play basketball recreationally?
CK: Unfortunately, I only make appearances on the court once in a blue moon.
GD: What are some of your favorite off-the-court memories of Duke?
CK: Making up for lost social time post season with my teammates & other friends (we really packed it in!), summer school in Spain, burning the benches in celebration of the Men's National Championship in 1991 and 1992.
GD: Where in Spain did you travel to and for how long did you stay?
CK: The summer after my sophomore year, I attended the Duke in Spain summer semester in Madrid. We traveled all over to learn about culture, art history and lifestyle, etc. After college, I played professionally for Fonxesta Ensino in a town called Lugo which is in the province of Galicia north of Portugal. After my playing stint, I moved back to Madrid for another year and a half where I taught English and worked for a Spanish consulting firm - long enough to feel good about my ability to speak the language before leaving.
GD: What was the experience like to be able to study in another country?
CK: I look back at my experience of studying and living in Spain as one of the best things I've ever done to develop myself as a person. Spain is a country of such rich tradition and culture and to have the opportunity to experience that from the inside was tremendous. I learned so much about myself, my own American culture and broadened my perspective on so many topics from art to politics. I'm very grateful for the Duke in Spain program, then to Duke Women's basketball for making almost three years of my life in Europe possible! :)
GD: What was your major?
CK: B.A. Sociology, B.A Spanish, Markets and Management Studies Certificate
GD: What made you choose to come to Duke?
CK: Academic reputation combined with a Division I athletic experience
GD: Where did you live when you were at Duke?
CK: Spent all four years on West Campus in various dorms.
GD: How much has women's basketball changed since you played?
CK: Tremendously. When I started playing, I had to play in boys leagues and there were very few female athletes that command the headlines we see today (much less who played women's basketball). Now I see little girls running around in basketball shoes and they have their pick as to who they want to be like when they grow up. Women's athletics in general has made significant strides in the last 15 years.
GD: How has Duke changed since you were in school?
CK: Durham is now a destination.
GD: What are your impressions of the program today and this year's team?
CK: The program has come a long way. I was blown away by the new facilities available to the athletes. This year's team has tremendous talent and is truly fun to watch!
GD: How exciting has it been to watch Duke grow into one of the top programs in the country?
CK: It's been such a wonderful experience to follow.
GD: How often do you watch Duke basketball games? When was the last time you were able to see a game in Cameron?
CK: I watch as often as I can, but life has gotten in the way lately. I came back two years ago.
GD: Have you had a chance to come back and see the new practice facility? If so how nice would it have been to have that when you were playing at Duke?
CK: I took a tour when I came back for the Women's Basketball reunion two years ago. I couldn't believe it - we would have killed for it.
GD: What kind of impact has a Duke degree had on your life?
CK: It's what I'm most proud of leaving my Duke experience - and that's saying a lot considering how much I value the athletic experience. It opens doors, offers credibility and provides a solid foundation to pursue whatever one chooses to do with his or her life.
GD: Do you keep in touch with your former teammates?
CK: Yes, but not as much as I'd like to be in touch for sure.