In June of 1999, assistant coach Karen Caires (pronounced KY-ress) was promoted into the position of a recruiting assistant, gaining an active role in the force which annually brings some of the nation's best talent to the UA.
Now entering her fourth year with the Wildcat program, Caires came to the UA after spending the 1997-98 season as an assistant coach at Oregon State under head coach Judy Spoelstra. Caires is entering her 12th year of coaching, her seventh as a collegiate coach.
Prior to her stint in Corvallis, Caires spent three years at the University of Vermont. In the 1994-96 seasons, Caires served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Her responsibilities included recruiting, conditioning, academic monitoring, instruction of the guards, player personnel, community coordinator, and co-director of camp. Caires' tireless work ethic, knowledge, and rapport with student-athletes earned her the promotion to associate head coach in 1996. During Caires' three seasons of reloading, the UVM program went from an 11-16 record to a 21-8 mark.
Caires was the head coach at John F. Kennedy High School in Orange County, Calif., from 1992-94. She guided her team into the CIF playoffs both years. In the meantime, she was also a physical education instructor at the community college (Cypress and Irvine Valley) and high school levels. Prior to Kennedy, Caires spent three seasons (1989-91) as the assistant coach at Cypress College in Cypress, Calif.
Caires is a 1990 cum laude graduate of Cal State Northridge with a B.A. in physical education. She transferred to CSUN from Cypress College. At Cypress, she was a two-time all conference player and team captain and helped lead the team to a 1988 Orange Empire Conference championship with an undefeated record. Caires was the recipient of the California Community College Scholar-Athlete Award, which is given to only 18 athletes in California. She played only one year at Northridge before suffering a career-ending knee injury. Caires received her master's degree in pedagogy/coaching and graduated cum laude from Long Beach State in 1992.
Caires' responsibilities at Arizona include coordinating the Wildcat defense, instructing the guards and assisting with the Joan Bonvicini Hoop Camp, scouting, recruiting and academic monitoring of the student-athletes.
Caires is the only one in her family not to be born in the islands of Hawai'i. Her mother, Shirley, is a native of Oahu, and her father, Al, is from Hawai'i. Caires cultivated her competitive spirit at a young age from the challenges of her older brother, Keith. Raised in Southern California, Caires likes to spend her free time water skiing, sailing and enjoying the outdoors.