Former Temple women’s standout Karen (Healey) Lange is the assistant coach of boys’ basketball team at Caravel Academy, which lost in the Delaware State Championship. Players on her team are fans of the Delaware 87ers and her husband is the cousin of Sixers assistant Billy Lange.
By Kevin Callahan
Former Temple University women’s basketball standout Karen (Healey) Lange still stays connected to the game and still feels the connection to the 76ers while living in Delaware.
Lange is the assistant coach of the boys basketball team at Caravel Academy, which reached the Delaware State Championship despite a double-digit seed, where players on her team are fans of the Delaware 87ers.
Oh yeah, her husband, Matt Lange, is the cousin of Sixers assistant coach Billy Lange.
So the connection to Philadelphia basketball is strong for the former point guard on North Broad Street.
“As you can imagine, the boys are very excited for the Sixers,” Lange said, “and like many fans, hoping for a competitive and possible playoff season.”
Lange, who has lived in Delaware for 21 years, sees the interest in the 87ers of the NBA G League is growing like her own children.
“I think there is a huge opportunity with the 87ers because Delaware is small and there isn’t a pro team,” Healey said.
Caravel Academy, which is in Bear, is about five miles from the University of Delaware, where the 87ers play their home games.
“I say before the NBA draft, who are the top five picks? They know the answer,” Healey said about talking with the players she coaches at Caravel. “The NBA has done a phenomenal job of branding, attracting the younger generation. It is unbelievable.”
Healey is the head junior varsity coach at Caravel and assistant varsity for Mark Tobin. They have been coaching together for six years now, beginning with Catholic Youth Ministries.
“We have a great repertoire and he is a good guy,” Healey said.
Tobin has been coaching both boys and girls teams for 22 years.
“She is a very strict task master to these boys,” Tobin said. “She is the element that I believe makes every staff successful. She knows basketball. She knows the kids. She pays attention to the little things that sometimes I don’t have the time to look at and she is behind the scenes managing the parents, managing the kids.
“She is 100 percent pro-kid. Yeah, she is a basketball coach, but she spends the time with the kids who might need a little extra. She pays attention with the kids not just in basketball, but in a life way and that makes our program even stronger, having someone invested in the kids, not if they are a good player or not a good player, but in every part of the kid.”
Lange coaches her son, Joe, who is entering his junior year at Caravel.
“It is hard coaching your kids and I always said I wasn’t going to do it,” said Healey, who also has two daughters – Grace, a freshman at Villanova and Katherine, 10. “But people are really busy these days and there is a lack of volunteers, so I do it.”
This will be the fourth season Healey has been coaching her son.
“I have a great relationship with the boys, they know I can play,” Healey said. “A few years ago, I would play full court with them.
“Very few of them can beat me in H-O-R-S-E.”
Lange was the point guard on the Temple 1988‐89 team that is one of the best in school history. Lange got the ball to District II First Team All‐Americans Pam Balogh and Kelly Lane, helping the Owls advance to the championship game of the Atlantic 10 Tournament where the Owls lost to West Virginia.
With a then program‐best record of 22‐10, Lange and the Owls received an at‐large berth to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the school’s history. Temple advanced to the second round of the NCAAs by defeating Holy Cross before bowing out to Auburn.
When Healey graduated in 1989, she was second in Temple history with 353 career assists (3.3 per game) behind Donna Kennedy (507 from 1979 to 1983)
In high school, Lange starred on the 1984-85 Washington Township basketball team for coach Dawn Bunting, winning the South Jersey Group 4 championship with a 26-4 record.
Lange was one of three 1,000-point scorers with Jeanine (Reynolds) Delaney and Sharon Ross for the Minutemaids, who were the state runner-up to Irvington.
But these days, Lange, who was inducted into the South Jersey Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, would rather talk about the team she coaches than when she played.
“We were the 19th seed and we got to the state championship,” Healey said about Caravel’s past season.
And she sees the connection of her players to the 87ers as well as other Delaware players who have reached elite levels. Olympic gold medalist Elena Delle Donne played at Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, Del, and is currently in the WNBA, and Villanova sophomore guard Donte DiVincenzo played at Salesianum in Delaware,
“Kids look up to them,” Healey said. “When Delle Donne comes back, it is packed. Donte is another one.”
Tobin also sees the interest in the 87ers growing.
“They do a really nice job of reaching out to the community,” Tobin said. “There is a lot of youth basketball in Delaware and the 87ers are constantly going out and trying to draw them in.”
“I think people are starting to own them a little bit, which will only make more connections to the Sixers.”
Tobin is a friend with Joe Richmond, the 87ers Ambassador of Basketball and a former high school basketball coach in Delaware.
“He has connected with me on stuff,” Tobin said about Richmond. “There is opportunity for kids, of all different ages, to get connected to the 87ers, which is great.”