WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Meier focused on winning

See also: Women’s Basketball Preview

It’s 5:45 a.m. on a Sunday morning and it’s time to get up and play basketball.

Coach Katie Meier heads over to the BankUnited Center to prepare and plan for a preseason practice before the sunrise, trying to turn her basketball team into a single, cohesive unit on the hardwood.

The 2007 NCAA basketball season begins Nov. 9 and the Canes are trying to bounce back from a losing season in 2006 that was plagued with injuries.

Coaching requires dedication and effort for Meier. Every day she strives to improve in every aspect of her job.

“At the end of the day, when I put my head down, I hope that some progress was made somewhere, somehow,” she said. “That’s really motivating to me. I wake up ready to get better.”

A single work day for Meier can last from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. at the office and gym.

This is nothing new for UM’s women’s basketball team, and Meier knows that the coaching life isn’t easy. She was hesitant to break into the coaching industry at first.

“The coach’s life seemed really hard,” Meier said. “It is really emotional and very consuming and I was scared that I wouldn’t have balance in my life so I fought the urge.”

Eventually Meier found that coaching was her true passion. Through years of being involved with the game, it was clear to her that being a leader in the huddle would come natural as a coach.

“My first job was actually academic counseling in support for the athletes,” she said “But they needed an assistant coach to help out, and by the end of the first practice I knew it was what I needed to do.”

Dianna Barnes, a recent transfer from junior college in Texas, has enjoyed her first few months of basketball spent under Meier.

“It’s been interesting playing under Coach Meier so far,” Barnes said. “It’s real good. She has showed us how to stay positive. ”

Meier was a star at Duke University in her undergraduate days. She currently ranks in the top 10 all time in: scoring average, steals, free throws made, free throws attempted, points, field goals made, field goals attempted, steals and rebounding.

Meier attributes her success on the court to her dad, who died in a plane crash before she was born. He played basketball for DePaul, which inspired Meier to begin playing basketball. Not having the chance to meet him has been a motivational factor for her in playing and teaching the game of basketball.

Along with a love of basketball, Meier has a resume full of coaching experiences from all around the world, and has only yielded one losing season in her career – with the 2006 Miami Hurricanes.

Meier reflected on her own idea of being a role model while being a coach.

“So many people are looking to you for the person you are, and how you react to things and when something horrible happens; how you handle it as a person, not as a coach. You need to have a high degree of integrity. Just know who you are and be honest.”

Steven Bartlett may be contacted at s.bartlett3@umiami.edu.