Thursday, May 30, 2002
Steamboat Springs Katie Moskowitz has a "huge fire in her pit" just like her dad, Kelly Meek a trait likely to prove useful as the recently named interim head volleyball coach at Adams State College.
Moskowitz takes over the Grizzlies' program after former coach Jody Paperno resigned for personal reasons. With no previous college head coaching experience on her resume, the opportunity to lead a Division II program is certainly beyond the expectations of even the confident 27-year-old Moskowitz.
"I thought I would be a high school coach," she said.
A vision most likely stemming from the household she was raised in.
Meek has coached the Steamboat Springs boys' basketball team for nearly 30 years and enjoyed tremendous amounts of success. Moskowitz, the eldest of Meek's three daughters, was raised in a gym. She went on road trips with her father. She broke down film and drew up scouting reports with her father. At his camps, she was always the only girl present.
"Our cheerleaders, stat girls and even the players, somebody always took care of them," Meek, 55, said of his daughters.
It's understandable, then, why Moskowitz thought she would follow the same familiar and familial career path.
"I saw myself teaching and coaching in a small town for 30 years," Moskowitz said.
She seemed on track in Delta where she was a history teacher and volleyball coach, but plans changed when her husband, Mike Moskowitz, a former assistant under Meek, accepted an assistant coaching position with the Adams State men's basketball team just three months after they were married in July 2000.
Katie Moskowitz remained in Delta to honor her commitment for the season then joined her husband in Alamosa. She accepted a graduate assistant position within the volleyball program and decided to pursue her master's in health, physical education and recreation at Adams State.
A former all-state setter from Steamboat and the recipient of a full-ride scholarship to the University of Southern Colorado, Moskowitz's skill is surpassed only by her work ethic and inherited toughness.
"She's aggressive and very intense," Meek said. "She coaches more like a male coach. She's not afraid to be blunt and let the players know what she thinks."
Injuries shortened her playing days but never stole her passion for the sport. Wendy Hall, the current head coach for the Sailors, also worked with Moskowitz in high school and saw a coach taking bloom even then.
"Katie was one of the most fun kids I've ever coached," Hall said. "She was a gym rat. She took what she had and worked harder than anyone else. Her work ethic is a sign of good leadership so it doesn't surprise me that she got into coaching."
While Moskowitz has stepped in and helped her father do some basketball coaching in the past, Meek has also ventured down to Alamosa, the hometown of both him and his wife, Karen, to assist his daughter in instructional sessions.
The rapport Moskowitz established with her players is evident, even if it wasn't inherent.
"When she first stepped in there the players looked at her with a skeptical eye. It was more like she was a high school coach," Meek said. "It took a week, and they were in step with Katie."
Neither Meek nor his daughter short change the wonderful opportunity she has been given at a fairly young age. Nor do they underestimate the challenges that await a first-year head coach. When Paperno resigned, the players voiced their desire to retain Moskowitz. Adams State Athletics Director Jeff Geiser complied with their wishes and named Moskowitz as interim head coach. After the 2002 season, the position will be open to any interested candidate, but if Moskowitz has a successful season, she would in all likelihood be a leading candidate for the full-time job.
She has already undertaken one of the forgotten tasks college coaches are required to do memorizing the fat NCAA rules book and testing over it. When asked if she was recruiting or planned to recruit any of the players from her alma mater, she demonstrated her knowledge of the big blue book by promptly denying comment.
"I can tell you that being from Steamboat, I know they have specific expectations for their players."
Hall, once bitten by the urge to coach at the college level earlier in her career, has since squashed that bug but believed Moskowitz could learn to love college coaching if she could handle the burdens of recruiting.
Meek agreed but went a step further when saying he saw the potential for his daughter to blaze her own trail and do what he never did become a successful college coach even if it isn't at Adams State.
"I think she's going to get smitten by it," he said. "It just depends on how she feels about recruiting. She's improved so much since I first started watching her coach. I believe that's why she got the college job."