There’ll be a familiar face leading the Long Island Lutheran girls basketball program next season.
Former Crusaders standout Christina Raiti is set to take over head coaching duties following the resignation of Rich Slater last week. It’s a job Raiti said she’s ready for, particularly with a program that’s become her home away from home. Raiti has spent the past four seasons as an assistant on Slater's staff.
“I already have a relationship with some of the girls,” said Raiti, 26. “Probably one of the tougher parts is going to be changing that role. But we have a great group of kids, so I couldn’t ask for a better group to step into.”
A 2012 graduate of LuHi, Raiti, who grew up in Plainview, was part of the Crusaders' first New York State Federation championship team in 2011. The four-year starter went on to play at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and has worked as the assistant athletic director at LuHi since 2017, as well as the director of girls basketball for the LuHi summer programs.
LuHi athletic director Todd Huebner called Raiti “the heir apparent” to the head coaching job “whenever Rich was ready to step down.” Slater led the Crusaders to a 234-58 record and four Federation championships in 12 seasons. LuHi was 22-1 when this season was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Raiti, who also co-founded Empire Youth Athletics just over a year ago, said she spoke with players after everything was made official, calling them individually “just to have them hear it from me and to tell them how excited I was.”
Now she’s looking to keep building on the tradition at Long Island Lutheran.
“I’m up for the challenge,” Raiti said. “I told [Rich], 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.”