Kate Achter recently finished her first season as an assistant women's basketball coach at St. Bonaventure, helping the Bonnies to a 21-12 record and a win in the Women's National Invitational Tournament. Achter, a 2004 Clay graduate, was an All-Ohio player while playing for her father, Roger. She enjoyed a sterling career at Bowling Green State University where she played in three NCAA tournaments and helped her teams win four regular-season Mid-American Conference championships. Achter ranks fifth in school history in points scored (1,580), first in assists (688) and second in free throws (551). Achter played against St. Bonaventure twice in college, and her boss, head coach Jim Crowley, said Achter is the best point guard he's ever coached against.
"I think it's safe to say for at least the next few years. I really enjoy it. I was fortunate enough to have coach Crowley take a chance on me. Throughout the season I learned so much, and it's something I'm very passionate about."
Biggest surprise you endured in year one?
"The amount of work that goes on behind the scenes. I was always very fortunate at Bowling Green to have such a great staff. We really didn't have the slightest clue the hours they put in. Not that it's a bad thing, but people don't realize how much work it is."
Given that you're a big name in northwest Ohio, are you recruiting this area?
"I am. I'm responsible for the areas of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and a little bit of Pennsylvania. I get to make a lot of decisions as far as what kids we recruit. I was up for a few games this year, and you can't go wrong with Toledo basketball. It's fantastic."
Were you surprised Toledo was able to win the WNIT having to go through so many high profile programs?
"I wasn't because coach [Tricia] Cullop has done such a fantastic job there the last few years. She's very well respected in the community, and she's well respected by recruits. They were very fortunate to have so many home games and that's a credit to the university and how much they care about women's basketball."
How would you game plan to stop UT point guard Naama Shafir [who scored 40 points in the WNIT championship game]?
"I feel like at times when I watch Naama it's watching a mirror image of myself. She's very heady, and she has tremendous body control. As a coach I'd say you're not going to push up on Naama. You're going to give her a step. You don't allow Naama to get the penetration that she wants."
Who's a more intense coach, you or BGSU coach Curt Miller?
"I think Curt is the more intense coach. My job as an assistant isn't to get on players and make them fear me. My job as an assistant is to work with them in the gym and to help them out if they're confused what the head coach is saying. Now, if one day I become a head coach, I'll probably be a maniac like Curt."
What elements of his coaching style have you taken to St. Bonaventure?
"Everything that we used at Bowling Green I somehow translated to what I do at St. Bonaventure. From recruiting to teaching offense to teaching defense and even to player communication. I was so fortunate to have a good staff. We took them for granted."
Are you surprised Curt and his staff are still at BG after enjoying so much success?
"I am, just because he's so tremendous at what he does. Case and point, I was at the [women's] Final Four and the head coach of the Seattle Storm did an on-court demonstration on the pick and roll. He said he's worked with a lot of coaches and there's nobody in the country better at teaching the pick and roll than Curt Miller. I'm surprised he hasn't gotten a shot, but I'm not so sure it hasn't been Curt's decision to stay."
Is being a head coach your next goal?
"I need to work my way up the ladder. At this point I'm not sure I'm at the stage of my career where I can say I definitely want to be a head coach. There's so many things I want to learn, so many networking things I need to do before I'm ready for the day to day responsibilities."
Would you be OK coaching against Bowling Green if St. Bonaventure was to schedule them again?
"I would have no problem with it, regardless where it's played. To have them come here would be great."
— Ryan Autullo