Mom and dad came to hear the keynote speaker. Grandma, too.
Katie Broadway, the featured guest at the Alton Exchange Club’s 71st annual Players of the Year awards basketball banquet, made it a family affair March 23 at the Atrium Hotel in Alton.
It figured. Her dad, Mike, played basketball at East Alton-Wood River. And don’t forget uncle Don, a tenacious football and baseball player for the Oilers. Katie has carried on the family tradition in prep and college basketball and now is coaching the game she loves.
Broadway, 26, is an assistant coach at McKendree University in Lebanon and glad to be back in Southwestern Illinois. The NCAA Division II Bearcats finished 11-16 the past season and went 6-11 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
She sees McKendree improving in 2016-17.
“We have at least five recruits coming in for next season,” she said. “This season was a transitional one. We (coaches) didn’t know exactly what we were getting into, but we had to fix the attitude of getting comfortable with losing.”
Broadway displays a winning persona and embraces opportunities. That’s why she scored 2,079 points at CM and more than 1,000 points at Illinois State University in Normal. She became director of operations of UAB before joining the McKendree coaching crew last season.
“We’re excited about next season,” Broadway said. “A winning season would be great.”
There’s that winning motive again. It stirs her, but she’s a realist as well.
“Things don’t always go the way you plan them. But that’s life,” she told an audience of nearly 150 at the Players of the Year affair.
“Mistakes are meant to be and failure is OK if you can keep going. You should get out of your comfort zone.”
Her words resonated with local players, including 5-foot-10 CM junior Allie Troeckler, bound for SIUE. Troeckler, a two-time Exchange Club Player of the Year, is fewer than 200 points from breaking Broadway’s career scoring record.
“That was cool what she said, and I liked the part about how she started playing basketball at age 5,” Troeckler said.
Broadway, the only three-time Exchange Club Player of the Year (2006-08), pointed out: “We all love the game for different reasons. I fell in love with basketball when I was 5 years old. I didn’t just want to play basketball. I wanted to be a basketball player.”
There’s no doubt that she became a very good one. Broadway kept sharpening her talents over time. Shooting might have been her strongest suit, yet learning to play the game the right way is what she cherishes the most.
“What you can control in basketball is your attitude and effort,” Broadway said. “I can’t promise what you need to do to be successful is going to be easy, but you can accomplish your goals if you persevere.”
That persistence is measured not only within yourself, but in your relationships with others — namely your teammates.
“What I love about basketball is that it’s a team sport,” she said. “It’s bigger than me. So you should get outside of yourself to be a better teammate. You will never forget the great relationships you build.”
Those bonds are like building blocks that can benefit you within and without basketball. For some, they are lifelong links. In Broadway’s case, they’ve transcended playing. Coaching is the next best thing.
“Being a coach has become one of the most rewarding things of my life,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to give back and pass along the things I have learned to prepare players for what comes next.
“You have to walk the walk if you talk the talk.”
Success comes at a price, as does failure. Sometimes they are intertwined and weave a magic of their own.
That’s sports. That’s basketball.
“Some of my failures and some of my greatest achievements have come from basketball,” Broadway said.
In Broadway’s case, those accomplishments far outnumber the disappointments. That’s life on her terms.
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