Before she became one of the ACC’s most respected coaches, Katie Meier was netting treys and racking up assists at Duke University in the late 1980’s. She may have missed a slew of games due to injuries, but if you know your ACC history, you know Meier meant business whenever she stepped foot on the court. As a freshman, she was ACC Rookie of the Year. As a senior, she was All-ACC First Team, while becoming the Blue Devils’ all-time leader in points per game (16.2), steals (232) and free throws made (447).
All these accomplishments and experiences have helped shape Meier’s reputation as a coach with pure instinct for the game. And to a player, there’s nothing more comforting than knowing your coach has done what you are now doing.
“My playing career really does help me [as a coach] because it gives me that credibility,” Meier said. “It helps when I ask my girls to do something they’ve never done before. They can trust me because they know I’ve been there.”
Once she graduated from Duke University with Dean’s List honors, she moved to Belgium to play with BBC Mini-Flat Waregem from 1990-1993. While playing overseas, in a time before there was a WNBA, she won a Belgian Cup championship and three First Division regular season titles.
Before becoming a head coach at a major institution, Meier worked as an assistant at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and Tulane University from 1993 to 1999. In 2001, she became the associate head coach at Tulane before ultimately becoming the head coach at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. There she gained a reputation as a gritty competitor for turning around a basketball program that had struggled miserably in past years. Meier was hired at UM to do the same.
This season, the Hurricanes have been limited to only eight players, having lost four seniors from last season, which has complicated things. Knowing Meier’s pedigree as a hard-nosed competitor, it comes as no surprise that she hasn’t given up midway through a tough season.
“We had a good group of four seniors last year,” Meier said. “This year we revamped the roster, which has little ACC experience. But this is the beginning of the building. If we can press on and get a post-season bid that would be a heck of an accomplishment given the hand we’ve been dealt.”
Improvement is what Meier is all about. There can be setbacks and roadblocks along the way, but to her, such things are only good for motivation and excuses. According to Meier, if you want to get anywhere, you have to constantly adjust and reinvent yourself.
Meier believes the Hurricanes have what it takes to make a splash in the post-season in years to come.
“UM is a really special place in terms of a young lady coming here to be a part of a close-knit team,” Meier said. “We expect a lot out of our players, but the players come first, and people know that about this program.”
Victor R. Rodriguez may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.