Tommy Watson grew up in the Five Points area of Denver, Colorado, a crime-ridden neighborhood with gang violence, drugs and pervasive poverty. Living in this type of neighborhood creates numerous obstacles and challenges for young people; however, Tommy’s biggest challenges were confronted behind closed doors.
Many negative influences insidiously crept into his home. Throughout his childhood, both of his parents were addicted to heroin, shoplifted and neither had a legal means of employment. As a result, family life for Tommy and his siblings was quite chaotic, and the children often found themselves unsupervised and uncared for. They frequently lived in foster homes, shelters, motel rooms, or with family and friends.
In part, due to the help of others and, in part, through his own personal drive; Tommy was able to avoid the traps of drug addiction and gang affiliation that eventually consumed the lives of some of his siblings. And, despite some negative classroom experiences, Tommy persevered, graduated from high school and earned an athletic scholarship to play Big Ten football for the University of Minnesota.
Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.
- Thomas Carlyle
Lacey has worked at all levels of women’s basketball – collegiately, professionally and internationally – as a player, coach and manager. She directed programs for USA Basketball from 1997 -2001, and she was an intricate part of the 2000 Olympic Gold Medal Women’s and Men’s Basketball Teams in Sydney, Australia.
A former standout for North Carolina State University, Lacey played for the late Hall of Fame Coach, Kay Yow, and was the first African-American woman to earn a full four year basketball scholarship in school history. She was an All-American, four-time ALL-ACC player, and was named to the ACC All-Legend team in 2007.
Lacey also led the United States to gold medals in the 1981 and 1983 World University Games, held respectively in Bucharest, Hungary, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
She went on to earn a Master's Degree in Sports Management as a graduate assistant at her alma mater before going on to coach Division I women’s basketball at Francis Marion University, University of South Florida, and the University of Maryland.
Lacey eventually made a move to the WNBA serving both as an assistant and head coach of the Charlotte Sting. She would return to the college ranks for two seasons at Queens University of Charlotte before returning to the WNBA to become the coach and general manager of the Washington Mystics.