Familiar face returns to guide Cape Fear Community College women’s basketball

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Lori Drake returns to CFCC after a one-year hiatus. Photo courtesy- CFCC Athletics.
Lori Drake returns to CFCC after a one-year hiatus. Photo courtesy- CFCC Athletics.

Coming off the program’s most successful season in school history, Cape Fear Community College’s Director of Athletics Ryan Mantlo has announced the return of Lori Drake as the head women’s basketball coach moving into the 2016-17 season.

Drake, who served as the college’s first women’s basketball coach, returns to the helm after spending one season as an assistant coach at High Point University. She replaces Chris Harris following the Sea Devils’ historic campaign, in which they advanced to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III Tournament in Overland Park, Kansas. It was the program’s first appearance at the national event. The Sea Devils went 27-3 last season.

“We are blessed to welcome Coach Drake back to our family,” Mantlo said. “Her devotion to our student athletes and ability to help them reach their dreams make her the perfect fit. With Coach Drake it’s all about the kids and that is something we strive for in all of our programs.”

Drake began her coaching career at CFCC in the team’s inaugural season in 2012. The Sea Devils improved in wins each season under her leadership. In 2014-15, Drake’s final season at Cape Fear, she led the Sea Devils to a 26-7 overall mark and a No. 12 national ranking. Drake’s tenure at Cape Fear was marked by several player successes and accolades; seven Sea Devil women’s basketball players earned first team all-region honors, while moving a handful of players to the four-year level.

Last season, Drake helped guide High Point University to a 12-19 record. The Panthers reached the quarterfinals in the Big South Conference Tournament.

“I loved my time at HPU and am so thankful for the opportunity I was given to coach there,” Drake said. But, there is just something so special here at Cape Fear and I am thrilled to be back. I kept up with the team all year and actually watched each game during the National Tournament. My vision is to build upon the success we’ve established here. At the end of the day we will measure our success on our ability to change these kids’ lives. It’s all about the kids, not about me.”

Prior to her coaching career, Drake played collegiate basketball at Seward County Community College from 2002-2004 before transferring to UNC-Wilmington. During her playing days at Seward County Community College, Drake helped lead the team to a 32-5 record and a NJCAA No. 8 national ranking.

In her final collegiate season in 2007 at UNC-Wilmington, Drake led the Seahawks in scoring and rebounding, while serving as the team’s captain. That season Drake was honored as a Third Team All-Colonial Athletic Association Selection. The Brookneal, Va. native, received her Bachelors of Arts and Sciences in Therapeutic Recreation.

Drake would go on to play two years of professional basketball overseas in several different countries, making stops in the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Germany and Wales.