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Introducing Coach Christina Raiti

LuHi is excited to introduce Christina Raiti as the head coach of the Girls Varsity Basketball team. Coach Raiti is a former LuHi Crusader basketball player, and graduated from LuHi in 2012. She replaces Coach Rich Slater, who led the Crusaders to four New York State Federation titles during his 12 year tenure. Read on to learn more about Coach Raiti!

Share your experience with LuHi basketball (from player to coach):
 I’ve been a part of the LuHi Girls Basketball program since 2008, the same year Coach Rich Slater accepted his position as LuHi Girls Varsity Head Coach.  After playing Varsity Basketball in 7th and 8th grade at Plainview JFK, I was set to play high school basketball at one of the local private high schools. I then received a voicemail on my house phone, a call from Coach Slater asking for me to visit at school called LuHi.  I immediately chuckled and shared that I had never heard of a place called “LuHi” or a man named “Coach Slater”. Bottom line, my mother convinced me to visit and I said yes on the spot, while on campus. And that day, my 12 year journey began. 

Since that day, I dreamed of one day becoming the LuHi Head Coach. I had a dream to play in college, but I always told him I would be back to coach for him and did just that after my senior season in college ended.  From a four year starter at LuHi and a member of the 2011 State Championship team, to coming back to work as an assistant coach and an administrator, I have prepared for this moment! I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by a tremendous amount of talent both as a player and as a coach and while I know it won’t be easy, I’m excited to carry on that legacy. 
 
Where did you play in college, and what was memorable about the experience?
I played for four-years at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. Trinity was the perfect fit for me: academically, athletically, and socially! The most memorable part of my college experience was the relationships I created.  I still speak with my college teammates daily and we try to coordinate our busy schedules to plan one trip per year! If there’s any advice I can give, cherish those relationships. Teammates go through a lot together, they share ups and downs and some may wind up being lifelong friends!

What excites you about stepping into the role of head coach?
There are several aspects that excite me. Obviously, I owe so much to Rich Slater.  I have huge shoes to fill, but the challenge excites me! I think I’m most excited to continue to grow my relationship with the girls.  I think that’s something that changes when switching from an assistant to a head coach. A key component is trust. When I think about all good teams, they have trust.  They trust that as a coach, I will run through a wall for them and I trust that they’ll run through a wall for me! Great teams win because of trust.  

In regards to my personal story, my life was changed by playing basketball at LuHi and if it not for Coach Slater, I never would have found this place. I’m excited to make a difference in a girl's life by bringing her to LuHi, believing in her, and preparing her both on and off the court.  Who knows, maybe one day, she will be the next head coach! 

What are your goals for the team next year (both on the court and off the court)?
I think there are many different longterm and short term goals I see for our team moving forward.  Next year, I’m looking for our girls to succeed mentally, physically, and spiritually. I’m looking for us to compete at the highest level of girls basketball and I’m looking for us to be the most prepared team.  I feel if a team is prepared, the other stuff takes care of itself. There’s still unfinished business to take care of and that’s what we’re here for.  

Aside from wins and losses, I’m hoping for all of our girls to immerse themselves in our LuHi family and to share our successes with not only our student body, but with our entire community.  I’ve always considered our program to be one of excellence, so I aim to hold our girls to the highest of standards both on the court, in the classroom, and in our community. One of my personal goals is to invest in our girls as total individuals and ensure they feel they’re prepared in all aspects of life!
 
What makes LuHi’s girls basketball program unique and special in your opinion?
The LuHi basketball program has a special culture.  In the past, we’ve had the ability to produce not only wonderful young women, but young women who are prepared to play basketball at the next level and are prepared to take on all of life’s challenges.  Coach Slater always shared, “the biggest compliment is when a player comes back and says she felt prepared for the next level.” This could mean prepared for a tough physics course, the next level of basketball, or for an opportunity once the ball stops bouncing! Legendary Coach John Wooden had a famous saying along the lines of coaches don’t know whether or not they’re successful at the end of the season, they’ll know in 20 years after all of their players grow up and enter the world.

What is your role at LuHi, outside of coaching, and what do you enjoy about it?
In addition to coaching, I am the Assistant Athletic Director at LuHi. I absolutely love being able to share successes with our student athletes.  I enjoy providing them with the best possible athletic experience, watching them compete, and I enjoy the day to day of when they pop into the office!. I also can’t deny, sharing an office with Mr. Huebner is pretty great and entertaining at ALL times! 

Do you have any advice for LuHi athletes?
My advice to LuHi athletes is to do what you love.  Set your sights on your dream, whatever that might be (playing, coaching, physics, teaching, etc.), surround yourself with those who will help you grow, and don’t stop until you achieve it.
 
Long Island Lutheran Middle & High School    |    131 Brookville Road, Brookville NY 11545    |   516.626.1700
Long Island Lutheran Middle & High School is a Christ-centered, college-preparatory school whose mission is to glorify God by educating young people in body, mind, and spirit.