Last season was my first full season covering the Marquette University Women's Basketball team. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot about the game and the school. Right from Day One at Media Day, I was impressed with Head Coach Carolyn Kieger.
As a player, Coach Kieger was a four year starter on the Golden Eagles, a three year captain and is still the all-time assists leader for the team. She went on to become an assistant coach at the University of Miami, before returning to Marquette in 2014.
In her years at Marquette, Kieger compiled a record of 99-64. Making that record more impressive is her first season, the Golden Eagles were 9-22. She turned around the team and made them contenders in a few short seasons.
From Media Day through the season, Coach Kieger faced the press win or lose. She held her team accountable without ever laying blame. She made them tougher and stronger. Last season, they remained a powerhouse despite injuries to key players. She always had time for the press, whether in media sessions or informally around the arenas. She was a real joy to cover.
Unfortunately for Marquette, they lost to DePaul in the Big East Conference Tournament, then lost to Texas A&M in the second round of the NCAA Women's Tournament. It was a disappointing end to a tough, but exciting, season.
Shortly after the season ended, Kieger accepted the job as Head Coach at Penn State University. I congratulate Kieger and wish her well, but I will miss her at games. Still, I think it is great for the sport for former players to continue to succeed in the coaching field. While there are many ex-players coaching, there is always room for more.
Goodbye, good luck and thank you to Coach Kieger. I don't cover Penn State, but I will be following her there/
Carolyn Kieger and me in Chicago, IL-March 2019.