A Basketball Household: Fortiers juggle new job with growing family


by KREM 2 Sports


Posted on June 19, 2014 at 8:37 PM

Gonzaga women's basketball coaches Lisa and Craig Fortier are living out a storybook romance. They met in high school, and found love in college. In the years that followed, the pair watched their family grow in step with their careers. One thing remained - their passion for a sport, shared through it all. But now, more than ever.

For the Fortiers, basketball is more than just a game. It's how they met one another and developed their relationship.

"Well I was a baller," Lisa said.

The soundtrack of your life was orchestrated by rubber soles and hardwood floors. From state to state, and job to job.

"We had each other, and we were in the honeymoon phase," Lisa said.

But is basketball their life? There are two - and soon to be three - reasons why that may not entirely be the case. But it is awfully close.

"(Our kids) don't count sheep, they hear basketballs bouncing."

Lisa fortier has two teams: One at Gonzaga, and one at home. With four year old Marcus, two year old Calvin, and a daughter on the way. In both cases, she is in charge.

"He's (marcus) been calling me the 'boss coach' lately.

"I help when I can, but she's doing the lion share of it," Craid said.  

Lisa's responsibilities grew in April, when she the former assistant was hired as Gonzaga's women's head coach.

 "It was awesome. It was such a great feeling."

Near the top of the seemingly endless to-do list that followed her promotion was the task of hiring assistants. There was one logical option in her shadow.

"I've always just said I'm gonna convince you to do it, you're gonna be the best I can afford wherever we are," Lisa said.

Craig had just finished his third season as an assistant at Eastern Washington under men's head coach Jim Hayford.

"Professionally this is an amazing opportunity," Craig said. "Everything that's there, her dream fulfilled of being a head coach at an amazing place. Man, how can i not jump in with both feet."

"You want to hire the best coaches you can find and he's a great recruiter, he's great on the court," Lisa said. "He can do what he's supposed to do."

And Lisa will waste little time making sure that's the case.

"The first thing she said to me was 'I know your old boss used to let you stand up way more than I'm gonna let you stand up," Craid said.

"That's true, Coach Hayford didn't tell you to sit back down," Lisa added.

"But maybe I had good things to say."

 "I'm sure you did. And you'll have time to say those in the huddle and you can go back to your seat."

Lisa is calling the shots. And that's fine by Craig, who has willingly put his own career aspirations on the shelf, in order to excel at his primary responsibilities.

"How can I be a good dad, good at my job and also the relationship I have with my wife - how can those all be at the highest level?" Craig said. "And with a third child on the way you just have a different perspective on those types of things."

Which leads us to another gamechanger - their growing family.

"I think it's gonna kind of turn things around here," Lisa said. "It's never gonna be clean in our house and those kind of things, but we just figure it out."

So far that has taken some creativity. On top of being regulars at games, Marcus and Calvin have met recruits, played around at camps, and spent their share of time on the road. And they don't expect to change up the gameplan too much once their daughter arrives in July.

"People say 'how are you gonna be a mom and coach? That doesn't work'," Lisa said. I just laugh and say 'it does'. It doesn't look all clean and pretty and nice all the time but most of the time you can just make it work.