Katelyn Loecker is the new basketball coach for the Saint Mary women's’ team after a year as an assistant. In this Q5, the former Oklahoma State Cowgirls’ team captain talks about the culture and dedication she hopes to bring to the Lady Spires’ program.
1. How have the adjustments been from being an assistant to the promotion to head coach?
It’s been a little overwhelming but in a good way. I've had a lot of people reach out to me and be very supportive. There's a lot of stuff I have to learn, but I also was able to get a lot of experience this last year. I got a lot of hands-on because of coach (Bruce) Erickson. One of his goals was to help develop me and our other assistant. I’m just trying to adapt. I’ve been asking the other coaches around here what I need to do to help get all the players ready to go.
2. What are some of the changes that you want to bring to the team?
I want our team to be very close and have great chemistry and a great work ethic. I want to keep them accountable, but I want them to get to a place where they keep each other accountable. I think that’s one thing I’m going to be really pushing. Teams that are led more by players than coaches are usually some of the best teams. I’m going to definitely be preaching leadership and work ethic. We are going to have to out-work the other teams in our conference every single day. So those are definitely areas that I’m going to be focusing on.
3. What are some of the advantages you will have as a head coach who is so young and fresh out of college?
I bring a lot of new ideas and a lot of energy. I’m very excited, very passionate about this. I think I can relate to the players in terms of I was just in their shoes a few years ago. I have great relationships with all the players coming back. They respect me and I respect them. They know that I care about them and I think that is going to help me. If I get on them, they know it’s coming from a good place. I think just my work ethic, I think that’s going to help. That was my thing as a player. No one’s going to out-work me. That’s my mindset already as a coach. I’ve got to be the hardest worker in terms of all the other college coaches now. Obviously they were working their tails off but hopefully showing the players my work ethic can trickle down to them.
4. What was your initial reaction to when you found out you got the head coach position?
After I interviewed for it, I was called into the office to go over recruits and see where we’re at in that. Then they sat me down and offered me it. I didn’t get real excited. I was just kind of like a stone cold reaction. Then it was ‘all right, here we go, let’s do this.’ After I was like ‘OK, this is real.’ I’m so ready. My mind’s been probably a million places at once, but I’m definitely excited and anxious to get the seasoned rolled in.
5. What are the goals that you have for yourself and the team in your first season as head coach?
Some of the biggest things I’m going to focus on in terms of myself is just being consistent and being a hard worker. In terms of the players, obviously, my ultimate goal would be for us to win a championship. That's one thing Saint Mary has never done. There’s not a banner up in that gym that says women’s basketball and that’s my ultimate goal, but one thing I’m going to preach to the players is how are we going to get there? It’s going to take every single day of us showing up, working hard and going to work, but also having fun doing it. Then the other thing in terms of myself is getting the girls to buy into what I’m trying to teach them. If I can do that, then I think we’ll be pretty successful.