DETROIT – The odds of having two sets of twins are rare. The odds of everyone in the family playing basketball, including the parents, are more uncommon. Twins Adam and Annabel are the second generation of Aryault Warriors to suit up for Wayne State University.
Andy Ayrault is an assistant coach on Wayne State women’s basketball team. He met his wife, Kim (née Reiter), when the two played for WSU in the early 1990s.
“The first date we ever went on … we saw White Men Can’t Jump,” Andy Ayrault said. “It was a basketball movie.”
They married after college and started careers outside basketball: Andy in advertising, Kim in education. Andy Ayrault also did some youth coaching on the side, which morphed into him and Kim helping their first set of twins, Julia and Joe, who went to Michigan State University.
Julia Ayrault is currently a graduate student leading the Spartans in rebounds and blocks, and Joe Ayrault was head manager of the women’s team.
But the Ayraults’ Wayne State basketball story came full circle in 2022 because of the second set of twins, Annabel and Adam. Around the same time that summer, Annabel Ayrault committed to play for the Warriors and Andy Ayrault was offered an assistant women’s coaching job after being head boys coach at Grosse Pointe North High School.
“I wouldn’t be doing this anywhere else,” Andy Ayrault said of Wayne State. “I’d still be working in advertising.”
Adam Ayrault followed in the fall with a commitment to WSU, and now he and his twin sister are the second generation of Ayrault Warriors. For the siblings, the university had an ideal mix of family history, good size, new facilities and strong relationships with the coaching staff.
“It’s really comfortable,” Annabel Ayrault said, because she can easily find her dad to talk to him and she’s only 15 minutes from home.
This is the first time Andy Ayrault has formally been Annabel’s coach, but she says it hasn’t been awkward. Him being on staff helped her transition to college, and he doesn’t give her any special treatment.
“He’s hard on me sometimes, but I need it,” she laughed.
Annabel and Adam also say being twins made them better basketball players because it was one more level of competitiveness.
It’s not all basketball all the time at home. Two summers ago, Adam said that he, Julia and Joe took up golfing to relax off the court but still stay competitive. And Annabel – who loves the “go, go, go” of basketball – slows things down with painting and drawing. She wants to be an art therapist after college, probably for kids in hospitals.
Despite multiple Ayraults donning Wayne State jerseys and adorning the record boards at Grosse Pointe North, Andy Ayrault says he and Kim never pushed basketball on their kids. Instead, they adopted it naturally playing in the backyard against each other.
“I think it kind of like brought us all together,” Adam Ayrault said. “Like, on holidays, when everyone would be in town, we'd play family basketball at the park. And I think that would just bring us closer to the game, because it was like a family thing.”