Katie Broadway competes at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at the Family Arena in St. Charles during her Illinois State college basketball career. Broadway, a 2008 Civic Memorial High graduate and the Eagles’ all-time leading basketball scorer, is returning to Southwestern Illinois as an assistant women’s coach for the McKendree Bearcats in Lebanon.
There’s a welcome mat out for Katie Broadway. She’s on her way home.
The 2008 Civic Memorial High graduate and Eagles’ all-time leading basketball scorer is returning to Southwestern Illinois as an assistant women’s coach for the McKendree Bearcats in Lebanon. Broadway previously served as an administrative assistant at UAB, a member of the Conference USA in Division I. She worked for the Blazers in Birmingham, Ala., the past two years.
“I’m really excited about it,” said Broadway, also a standout collegian at Illinois State University. “The two biggest reasons are that I wanted to coach and also get closer to home.
“This is a great opportunity.”
Don’t discount the family connection. Dad Mike, an East Alton-Wood River grad, played college ball at McKendree. The Bearcats now belong to the 16-team Great Lakes Valley Conference, a D-II league that includes Quincy, Missouri-St. Louis, U of I Springfield and Maryville University in St. Louis.
“It’s a very highly competitive conference and being at McKendree will help prepare me to be a coach,” the 25-year-old Broadway said. “I’ll be able to recruit players and be on the bench during games. It’s definitely a difference when you are out there.”
She mainly worked behind the scenes at UAB, but new McKendree coach Kari Kerkhoff, a former SIUE assistant, has big plans for the 5-foot-10 Broadway.
“There’s only two of us, so I will be working closely with Kari,” Broadway said. “I always wanted to get involved in coaching, and Kari and (SIUE coach) Paula Buscher have been very helpful to me.”
Buscher coached at Bradley and Kerkhoff was her assistant when Broadway played at ISU. Broadway, who tallied 2,079 points at CM High and received the Alton Exchange Player of the Year award a record three times, averaged 16.2 points per game in 2011-12, her senior season at ISU.
After starring for the Redbirds, Broadway graduated in May 2013 and coached for a year at Thomas Metcalf grade school in Normal. Then it was off to UAB for two seasons.
Now, it’s back to Southwestern Illinois, and that’s fine with Broadway.
“It’s very surreal coming home. I was in a completely new culture and I’m ready to get back home,” said Broadway, a communications graduate.
“I’m closer to my family and I can interact with all of the area high school coaches.”
No doubt she will check in quickly with CM coach Jonathan Denney, who monitored her dazzling development with the Eagles. Broadway averaged 24.4 ppg for them.
“I stay in touch with Jonathan and I’m so excited about what he does and the way the program is progressing,” Broadway said. The Eagles are a composite 57-10 the last two seasons.
McKendree is aiming to take those kinds of strides with Kerkhoff directing the program. Kerkhoff replaces Melissa Ringhausen, the Bearcats’ head coach the last 18 years. The ‘Cats were 2-24 last season for Ringhausen, the school’s new associate director of athletics.
“Kari is a very passionate person and she has a lot of experience in coaching,” Broadway said.
That should make it a good fit for Broadway, who is intent on gaining more experience and honing her coaching skills.
“Kari will work with the pivot players, so I think my main job will be to work with the guards,” Broadway said. “We’ll work together and I’m looking forward to that.”
She also can’t wait to help get the Bearcats moving.
“I like to play a fast-styled game and get up and down the court,” Broadway said. “You need to know how to read the defense and get the best possible shot.”
If Broadway sounds enthusiastic, it’s because she’s embracing her new coaching position with open arms. She spent time earlier this month at the Final Four in Tampa and enjoyed the experience. Connecticut defeated Notre Dame, 63-53, for the NCAA championship.
“We had a great weather and it was a lot of fun,” Broadway said. “It was a great way to network.”
And even a better way to get back home.