Lynch featured on Super 75
Edward Rudman – Sports Writer
Women’s Basketball Head Coach Kate Lynch was recently featured on “The Super 75”, a list, of the region’s best wings in women’s basketball, sponsored by D2 East Hoops.
“I really don’t look at it as an individual award because it’s not. I wouldn’t have had that opportunity and I wouldn’t be where I am without my teammates,” said Lynch. “To me, when I look back, I don’t necessarily think about my career. I think more about the fun times that we had, on and off the court, how fortunate we were and still are to have the friendships we still have as teammates and to have been able to represent Southern Connecticut on a national stage.”
During her four years at Southern, Lynch put together a storied career with many accomplishments, including being the program’s all-time leading scorer, NE10 Player of the Year honors, and two-time All-American honors.
In the same year she won NE10 Player of the Year, Lynch helped lead the Owls to the program’s first NCAA National Championship in 2006-07 and was named the NCAA Division II Tournament Most Outstanding Performer.
Lynch’s playing days at Southern were only the beginning, as she has been the head coach of the program for five seasons now and guided the Owls to five straight NE10 conference Tournament appearances and one NCAA Tournament in 2018. In total, the program has won 76 games under Lynch’s tutelage.
“For me, when I’m recruiting student athletes, I just reflect upon on my experience because I’m fortunate enough to have that firsthand experience and I think that goes along way when you’re talking to recruits and parents,” said Lynch. “My staff and myself, especially my staff, since we were able to win the national championship together, we want that same experience for as many teams as possible.”
Lynch’s assistant coach for all five years of her stint as head coach, Stephanie Hiriak, was also her teammate on the 2006-7 national championship team.
Hiriak spent four years as an assistant coach at the University of Bridgeport from 2010-14, but when her old teammate came calling with an offer to coach at Southern, it was a done deal.
“Coaching was always my big dream ever since I was little. I wanted to play college basketball and when that was over, I wanted to coach,” said Hiriak. “Kate and I would always take about how cool it would be to be able to coach together one day and it just so happens that it’s happening at the school where we played. I don’t think there’s anything better to coach where you played to give my players now the same experience that I had.”
Lynch said that having a former teammate and someone she’s close to as her assistant coach was a “no-brainer” and when she initially got hired to be Southern’s head coach, Hiriak was one of the first phone calls she made.
“She’s my friend and teammate first and foremost, it’s a very high trust level,” said Lynch. “Once southern called me and offered me the job, it was just like two seconds later and I’m on the phone with Steph and hoping that she’ll say yes. It’s crazy that, how many years later, you can say that you talked about this in college and now it’s actually happening.”
Photo credits: Sam Tapper