Karyn Swann ’92, sociology, never imagined that her daughter, Lyric, would attend UMBC, let alone follow in her basketball-shoe footsteps. And Lyric had no idea when she was cheering at the Homecoming games and attending UMBC Nike Basketball Camp in 8th grade that she would one day leave her own legacy on the same court.
Lyric, who signed with UMBC in December 2018, began playing basketball when she was eight after Swann put her in a clinic with her twin sister. She will start playing in the fall.
“It was my UMBC teammate, Angel, who told me about a clinic that she was putting her daughter in, and she suggested I put my twins in” says Swann. “I was hands-off. I never dreamed that I was going to be coaching her. Two years after being in the clinic, she joined a league, and I’ve been coaching her ever since.”
Both Lyric and her mother are left-handed, so Swann’s coaching was key. Lyric quickly became an outstanding athlete, playing both basketball and soccer. After she was named Most Valuable Player at the UMBC Nike Basketball Camp, recruiters started taking note.
“Her sophomore year going into last year, she had a phenomenal summer. So [UMBC] said, ‘Oh gosh, we have got to get this girl before these top top programs get her. The tournament wasn’t even over and they wanted to schedule a visit with her. That’s when it was first surreal, like she could really go here,” says Swann.
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Currently finishing her senior year at Long Reach High School, Lyric is the top point guard in the area and was the 2017 – 18 Howard County Player of the Year. When it came to making a decision, she had to pick between many schools recruiting her, including Yale.
“She’s a very prolific player. The coach here knows she could have played at a higher level. She realizes that academics are important, and there’s so much that UMBC has to offer in helping you beyond graduation,” says Swann.
When UMBC offered Lyric a full scholarship, she accepted it the same day.
“I was considering some other schools, but I felt like this one was the best fit for me because my mom went here and it’s close to home, and it’s like a home to me. Last year, I verbally committed to this school. This year, I did early signing,” says Lyric. “It was nice because it was a confirmation that I’m here and that my education is secured and my athletic career is secured, and I was just excited to go to college, you know?”
Swann, who wasn’t recruited, but became a walk-on-turned-scholarship athlete, remembers a very different UMBC, one that was much smaller, but one that she loved nonetheless. “I had so much fun when I was here. There were a lot of people from my high school here, so it felt really comfortable,” she says. “I loved going to the dining hall and going to some of the parties on Hilltop, and of course I spent a lot of time in the gym and running around the loop for conditioning.”
Incoming women’s basketball head coach Johnetta Hayes said she was thrilled to learn about Lyric well as her mother’s history with the team.
“Lyric will get a chance to create her own story, and I’m excited about that,” Hayes said. “I am thrilled to know she has passion for UMBC. This is home for her. It’s great for her family, and it’s great for UMBC, as well.”
Lyric already knew she wanted to stay in-state so that her mom could come to watch her play. “UMBC is a good school. I’m looking forward to going to an honors school. The people who go here are really smart and focused and they put their future first, as a priority for them. They’re trying to go places in life, and I’m excited to be surrounded by these people,” says Lyric.
She plans to major in graphic design. “I’m looking forward to playing here because basketball is my passion,” says Lyric. “I’m looking forward to making an impact here at UMBC and having fun doing it.”
Header image courtesy of UMBC Athletics.