Two-sport student-athlete Laura Coakley of St. Mary's High in Annapolis became the first female athlete in school history to receive a full scholarship yesterday.
She signed a letter of intent with Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., to play basketball for the Demon Deacons.
"Laura is the first girl athlete from our school to get a full scholarship, and we are very proud of her," said athletic director and head girls basketball coach Carmine Blades.
"She's wanted to go to Wake Forest since she was a sophomore."
The 6-foot cager averaged 19.2 points (a career-high 36 in one game) and 9.2 rebounds a game for a 23-6 Saints team in 1989-1990. Known as "Big Red" around school, Coakley was the only junior on the Anne Arundel County Sun All-County Team last season.
As a sophomore, Coakley was named All-County Second Team after averaging 12 points and 10 boards a game. She recently started her fourth varsity season for the Saints, and now she can concentrate on playing hoops with her future settled.
"It's just a tremendous weight off my shoulders to get this out of the way now," said Coakley after signing yesterday.
"Wake is a small school with a great academic tradition, and I intend to major in business."
Coakley also was co-captain of the Saints girls soccer team and was a three-year varsity starter for Coach Jerry Tobin.
"Laura has individual soccer skills that are second to none," said Coach Tobin, whose Saints went 15-3 overall with Coakley leading the way.
"She has been a model for our young team to rally around. Her work ethic is extra special, and makes it a real pleasure to be a coach."
In addition to her athletic prowess, Coakley is an outstanding student.
Her work ethic obviously carried beyond the athletic arena and into the classroom, where she boasts a 4.0 grade-point average in the school's honors program.
A member of the National Honor Society, the Student Government Association, Junior Civitans, Freedom Foundation Leadership and the Who's Who in American High Schools, Coakley was honorable mention on the Anne Arundel County Sun All-County Academic-Athletic Team last year.
Coakley resides in Crofton with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Coakley.