Katelyn Loecker was one of Chris Strathman's most decorated player for the McPherson High School girls basketball team. She now reunites with Strathman as an assistant basketball coach and head junior varsity coach. Strathman announced on Monday.
"We are very pleased that we are able to add Katelyn to our staff," Strathman said. "She brings a wealth of knowledge to our staff and will be an excellent addition. We are excited to bring back someone that is very familiar with our community, players and our program. Katelyn will hit the ground running and do a great job as our JV Coach and Varsity Assistant. I look forward to working with Katelyn as we all try to maintain the great things we have going with Lady Pups Basketball."
Loecker and Strathman always stayed in touch even from afar. Once the assistant role opened up, it was as if it was meant for Loecker to come back home.
"Coach Strath and I have always stayed in touch as he has always been a great mentor in my life. When the position opened, we had discussed it some and stayed in touch about the possibility," Loecker said. "McPherson has a great tradition and culture. When you leave this town, you really learn to understand how special it is, and the community support is one of the best."
The assistant position is no ordinary coaching role. Mike Reith, who has moved on to work at Uniontown High School administration, has been on staff for 13 years and helped develop the pipeline of Bullpups that made it a championship contender every year.
"I know I have big shoes to fill as Coach Reith was a phenomenal coach and person," Loecker said. "I wish him the best of luck in his next journey."
However, Loecker has her fair share of success as a former Bullpup player and could bring knowledge from both a player's and a coach's perspective.
"Playing both the guard and post positions, I believe I will be able to help players in all areas and be able to relate them because I was once in their shoes," Loecker said. "I'm very excited to work with and learn from Coach (Tim) Ellet, Coach (Shelly) Prescott and Coach Strathman as they were all on staff when I played in high school."
Loecker led McPherson to the Class 4A State Championship in 2012. She's also a two-time Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year and is a member of the McPherson Wall of the Fame. After graduating, she played all four years at Oklahoma State University. Before coming back to McPherson, she was a head coach at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth last year.