Walking down the halls of Seymour High School for the first time in as long as she can remember, probably more than a decade, Teri Moren notices all of the changes since her days on 5th Street.
Coming back to the high school is emotional for Moren. This was where she said she spent some of the best years of her life.
This is where Moren helped win four of legendary Owls coach Donna Sullivan’s 10 sectional championships.
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Where she and the Owls claimed two regional titles.
Where she played on the 1987 state finals basketball team as a senior and amassed 1,138 career points while playing for the Owls.
But like the new facilities, Moren has changed as well — she’s now the head coach of the Indiana University women’s basketball team.
This time at the school it isn’t her taking advice from teachers and coaches — she’s at the podium.
On Monday, Moren returned to the school to speak at the Seymour Rotary Club’s 2015 Senior Athletes and Scholars Lunch.
“I’m really, really proud to call Seymour my hometown,” Moren began. “To have the opportunity to come back and speak, see family and friends. I loved my time here. I think mostly what I loved about it was the people.”
Many of Moren’s loved ones, including Sullivan, former athletics director Mickey Beck and her father were in attendance with the seniors in the packed commons.
“So much has happened in 20 years for me,” Moren said over the microphone. “There have been plenty of successes, several disappointments. There’s been good and challenging (times). Notice how I didn’t say ‘the bad.’ I don’t think there’s anything that’s a bad experience. A matter of fact, I think the bad experiences sometimes teach you the better lessons than the good experiences.”
Moren, in her 23rd year of coaching at six institutions, finally got the chance to coach at her dream university in the IU job this past summer.
She made it clear to the students that its been a long journey and that she’s faced numerous trials during her life.
“The path to becoming the head coach at Indiana was anything but straight,” Moren said. “There’s been lots of twists and turns, many peaks and bounds. There’s been wins and losses. Everything I’ve been through has shaped me be the person and coach that I’m today.”
One of the key points Moren made to the students was to follow their dreams, no matter how outrageous they sound to peers.
“If someone told me 28 years ago that I was going to have the opportunity to be a head coach in the Big Ten, I probably would have said there’s no way,” Moren said. “At that time, the dream seemed too big. So, I’m here to tell and encourage you to not be afraid. Dream big. You have a gift that’s meant to be used and meant to be shared.”
Upon first arriving in Bloomington, Moren said she placed a Post-it note on her computer.
“Our most dangerous critic is the one inside our own head,” Moren said of the note, adding, “Don’t listen to that critic, listen to your heart that knows you were born for this.”
Changing the tone of the speech, Moren explained to the students that there are now two types of parents: helicopter and snow plow.
The “helicopter” parents hover around their kids, always showing up unexpected to help, while the “snow plows” pave the way so it’s easy for their children.
Moren encouraged the kids to not fall into either trap and learn the hard way how to cope with their problems. She said when she was in college she called her parents, and they told her “you’re not coming home, figure it out,” one of the best lessons she’s learned.
During her speech, Moren also stressed how important her relationship with Jesus Christ was during her journey.
“I loved her quote, ‘Don’t think how stressed, think how blessed,’” senior Emily Bobb said. “It’s a great everyday reminder of how much God has given all of us.”
Moren stressed to the students to take time to have fun but to stay diligent on pursuing their dreams — whatever they may be.
“Hearing from Teri was very inspirational for all women of SHS,” senior Claire Collett said. “Knowing that she came from a small town and is now a Division I women’s basketball coach proves to everyone (that) if you follow your dream you can achieve your goal.
“I was very inspired to not give up on my dreams and to push through the hard times in order to enjoy the ending results. I appreciated the advice she gave all of us (students) on how to get through life and on how to better ourselves in the real world.”
Following her time at the podium, Moren spoke with attendees.
Many students left feeling inspired, hoping to live by the words Moren spoke.
“In my athletic career, I will continue to push through the hard practices, tough losses, and other obstacles in order to better myself and my team,” Collett said.
“Before Teri came to speak to us, I was contemplating the idea on whether or not I should study abroad in college. After hearing Teri speak on pursing our dreams, I have officially decided that I am going to go out of my comfort zone and do the study abroad program.”