|Kate Mullen, head
women's basketball coach, stands outside the Freeman Athletic Center. She
has coached Wesleyan athletes for 14 years.
Basketball Coach Stresses Strong Fundamentals, Team Defense, Drive to
Q: When did you become the head women’s
basketball coach at Wesleyan?
A: The 1992-93 year was my first year at Wesleyan.
Q: What is your record so far this year?
A: As of Jan. 30, we are 13-5 overall and tied with Bates for first place in the
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with a 5-1 conference
Q: In the last three seasons, you’ve had an exceptional 63-13 record. And in
2004-05, you led the team to the program’s best record of 22-5. What did
this mean for Wesleyan?
A: One team’s success can help set the tone and standard for other teams. I
believe our success helped showcase Wesleyan Athletics both on and off
campus. If you attended our National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
First Round game here last March, you experienced a terrific atmosphere of
excitement and positive energy.
Q: In 2002-03, you were voted by your conference peers as the NESCAC coach
of the year. That must have been a great honor. What was your reaction?
A: The acknowledgement of our basketball staff’s efforts by my coaching
colleagues was what really made the award special.
Q: What lessons do you stress in your coaching? What do you expect out of
your players mentally and physically?
A: Strong fundamentals, team defense, and striving to improve are important
parts of the program. We teach everyday in practice and look for
student-athletes who want to get better. A high level of fitness and mental
toughness are stressed because that is what builds and maintains confidence
and success over the long haul.
Q: Who are your key players this year?
A: As usual, we rely on our seniors for their leadership, talent and desire
to help meet our goals for the season. Meg Robinson ‘06, Ashley Mastrangelo
‘06 and Hannah Stubbs ‘06 have brought this group a long way this season,
and we have our most important basketball ahead of us.
Q: Where did you grow up, and when did you begin playing ball? Did you play
A: I’m from Connecticut originally and began playing basketball in
elementary school. I played field hockey and softball in high school and
college, but basketball was my passion.
Q: Where did you attend college? What did you major in, and what sports did
you play in college?
A: I attended Central Connecticut State University for physical education
and to play basketball for Professor Brenda Reilly. I also played field
hockey and softball in college.
Q: Did you always want to become a full-time coach?
A: Looking back, ninth grade seemed to be the year I decided I wasn’t going
to focus on music and “lead the band,” but instead I would go towards
athletics and coaching.
Q: Prior to Wesleyan, where did you coach? Was your team competing against
A: Prior to Wesleyan I was the head women’s basketball coach and associate
athletic director at Elms College, a small Catholic Women’s College in
Western Massachusetts. I became familiar with Wesleyan when we began playing
them. When my current position was posted, I felt strongly that I would be a
good match for Wesleyan and vise versa. Fourteen years have gone by very
quickly and my appreciation and respect for the Wesleyan community continues
Q: You’ve been a lecturer at various basketball camps. What topics do you
speak on and messages do you hope to get through?
A: Depending on the age of the campers, I lecture on a variety of topics. I
choose skills like defense and rebounding that anyone can improve on. Also,
I like to stress the fun and teamwork found in our sport. Often, I end a
lecture with giving the campers two words that I guarantee will improve
their game: The words are, “Yes, Coach!” I have them practice those words
with energy and enthusiasm.
Q: As an adjunct professor of physical education, what sports-related
classes do you teach at Wesleyan?
A: I currently teach two sections of Introduction to Strength Training.
Q: Tell me about the Fundamental Basketball Camp, of which you are co-owner.
A: FBC is for girls from fifth grade through to entering your senior year of
high school. We offer a great mix of skill sessions, games, drill work,
lectures and fun! Our staff is made up of experienced coaches and our
players from Wesleyan, which is an added appeal to the campers. Anyone
interested should contact me at 860-685-2888 for any questions.
Q: Aside from sports, what are your hobbies?
A: I enjoy hiking, fitness, reading and playing the flute.
Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection