When I was in middle school my Mom drove a couple of the girls from my AAU team up to Portland to watch an ABL game. The Portland Power was playing Seattle and after the game my Mom talked us into trying to meet some of the players. Little did I know that not only was I meeting a very accomplished athlete but also the woman who would be my college basketball coach!
Katy Steding is a native Oregonian and has been inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame for her many achievements which include three PAC 10 All-Conference selections at Stanford, playing professionally in the US, Japan, and Spain, an d most impressively Steding went on to earn a spot on the US Senior National Team in 1995-96. Dubbed the “Women’s Dream Team”, Steding joined a myriad of other women’s basketball standouts to compile a 60-0 record. The squad capped their undefeated run with a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Yes. A gold medal. And she let us touch it once. It was awesome.
I only played for Coach Steding for one season but it was a very important year of my life. We made it to the NAIA national tournament that season, which was a big feat for our tiny school. Katy inadvertantly coined the nickname ‘Princess weezy’ for me (due to my asthma while I was beating everyone at line sprints 😉 , and most importantly she was supportive and encouraging when I decided to follow my passion to play collegiate volleyball instead of basketball. I recently reconnected with her to pick her brain for all the wisdom she’s compiled in her journey so far. Here’s what she had to say:
-What is a high point for you in your athletic career?
Many High Points, hard to pick one; 1998 worst to first with Portland Power in the ABL, 1996 Gold Medal,
1990 National Championship with Stanford, Lake Oswego HS at Oregon State Tournaments–each are special and
represent pinnacles of TEAM performance in their own place and time.
-What is a high point for you as a coach?
Again several high points;Definitely winning the Pac-12 championship in Seattle 2013 and defeating Georgia in the Spokane Regional of the NCAA Tournament to go to Cal’s first ever Final Four. Also going to the NAIA National Tournament with Warner Pacific College in 2004 and 2006.
-Did you have to overcome any obstacles to achieve your goals? How did you persevere?
2 Major knee injuries prior to 1996 Olympic Games–I persevered because I had my goals and I didn’t want to relax until I accomplished them!
-What is the best advice you’ve received?
Do something you love and don’t worry about what others are thinking of your choices–they’re YOUR choices.
-Best advice you could give to a young athlete?
Don’t Ever Give Up On Yourself–if it’s that important to you, you’ll find a way to get it done. Whether it’s working to get in better condition, more/better skillwork, developing a tougher mentality or stronger determination, whatever–you want it?–go do the work.