Originally posted by Andy Flores on PurdueExponent.org
A text from her AAU coach led a former Purdue player to an unexpected college head coaching job.
Katie Gearlds, who played for Purdue women’s basketball from 2004 — 07, was named the head coach at Marian University, who went 16-14 last season, on Friday. She was working at Purdue’s basketball camps when her AAU coach sent her a text telling her the position was open.
“I contacted (Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp) and asked to make a call for me,” Gearlds said. “I contacted ( former Purdue head coach Kristy Curry) who I had at Purdue and asked her to make a call for me. They both did and helped me get through the door and from then on it was my turn to do the work.”
Gearlds has had a storied basketball career since her high school days. Coming out of Beech Grove, Ind., she led Beech Grove High School to a state championship and was a participant in the McDonald’s All-American women’s basketball game where she took home MVP honors. She was also a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American and Miss Indiana Basketball.
Her success didn’t stop there as she went to the NCAA tournament all four years including a trip to the Elite Eight in her senior year. During her time at Purdue she averaged 14.8 points per game, 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists. She is also the fourth leading scorer in Purdue history and holds several records including most career three-point field goals made with 238.
After her senior season, she was drafted seventh overall by the Seattle Storm and spent three seasons with the team. Then she went overseas where she has spent the last two seasons in Spain and Portugal.
Gearlds didn’t expect to be coaching so soon, but said it is a “dream come true.”
“I figured I’d always play for a least a few more years, how more perfect can this be to have my family and friends here to support me ? Gearlds said. “I’m glad to be back home.”
Marian University is located about 25 minutes north of Beech Grove where Gearlds grew up. Gearlds said she feels “blessed” to be back home with family and noted “life comes full circle.”
“I love the city of Indianapolis, I think it’s a great city to live and work,” Gearlds said. “I think the city of Indianapolis has a great, great talent ... I’m looking forward to being on the road and recruiting them and trying to convince them that Marian is the school for them.”
Gearlds said it will be different watching the game from the sideline than actually playing in the game.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to see the game the same and be able to teach the young women at Marian some things and help them succeed on the court and off the court too,” Gearlds said.
The former Boiler hasn’t been able to meet with all of the players yet, but she has started to develop her plans for running an effective offense and defense.
“I’ve been fortunate to have some really good coaches, not only coach Versyp and coach Curry ... (Seattle Storm head coach) Brian Agler and you go back to my high school and AAU coach, I think I’m taking a little bit from all of them,” Gearlds said. “I have a lot of different things in mind, (I) just gotta work with the personnel I have now, I like the players I have and look forward to putting them into positions that will help them succeed.”
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