Long Island Lutheran girls basketball Christina Raiti was named the Naismith High School Girls Coach of the Year on Thursday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The annual award has been presented annually since 2008 to the top high school coaches in the country as voted by a select group of basketball journalists from around the country.
Raiti beat out finalists Special Jennings of Montverde Acadamy, Dawn Karpell of St. John Vianney High School Girls Basketball, Alicia Komaki of Sierra Canyon and Steve Reynolds of South Bend Washington High School. She is the first New York girl’s coach to win the award in its history.
“I am honored and proud to be selected as the 2023 Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Girls Coach of the Year. It is an honor I will treasure for years to come and one that certainly feels surreal,” Raiti said in a statement. “I am so honored to accept this award but would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that nothing of significance is ever achieved by an individual acting alone and for this reason, the award truly belongs to my assistant coaches and most importantly, to our team.
“This year, I have had the privilege of coaching the most selfless group of young women that I have ever known. To our girls and to our staff – I am forever indebted to you all for believing in our program and for believing in me.”
Raiti has coached LuHi to an impressive 20-2 season that includes eight wins over opponents ranked in the top-25 nationally. Her team also took home the crown in the 25th Annual Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix last December.
LuHi will look to take the program’s fifth-ever New York State Federation Championship later this month.
Raiti took over as head coach of LuHi in 2020 and has served as the assistant athletic director since 2017. She also co-founded and serves as the girl’s basketball director at Empire Athletics on Long Island.
“I’m up for the challenge,” Raiti told Newsday at the time of her hiring. “I told (former coach Rich Slater), I want to be better than him, but I wouldn’t be where I am without him. I owe him a huge thank you for giving all these girls opportunities, and giving me a chance to now give more girls an opportunity to have their life changed by LuHi basketball.”