If Katie O’Brien is anything, she is decisive.
When O’Brien was in kindergarten, her parents had her choose between softball and soccer. Being in a baseball family, she chose softball.
When O’Brien was in high school, she knew that, after college, she wanted to return to Jacobs and coach softball.
O’Brien now gets that opportunity. Former Golden Eagles coach Jeremy Bauer stepped down this summer to become athletic director and O’Brien, 26 and Bauer’s assistant the past three seasons, jumped at the chance to take over. Bauer announced Friday that O’Brien was hired.
“This is something I’ve dreamed about since I was 14,” O’Brien said. “I’m a big goalsetter.”
O’Brien recalled an interview with former Northwest Herald sports writer Dave Brown where Brown asked her, “If you wake up tomorrow and you’re head softball coach at Jacobs, what do you do next?”
“Here I am years later doing it,” said O’Brien, a 2006 Jacobs graduate.
Bauer said O’Brien was the natural choice, given her Jacobs ties and softball IQ. She caught for Bauer’s teams and also caught at NCAA Division I Dayton. She is in her fourth year teaching math and avid, which helped middle-ground students get to the next level.
“She’s a really high-energy person, very positive,” Bauer said. “She knows the sport very well and played at a high level. She’ll be a very positive influence on the girls and we’re excited to have her.”
O’Brien is excited to take over for her high school coach.
“I have so much respect for him, he taught me everything I know about coaching and managing people,” O’Brien said. “I really respect him in a lot of different ways. I thought I was ready to go [as head coach].”
Former Jacobs AD Dan Vosnos left for the AD position at Homewood-Flossmoor this summer and Bauer considered that opening. It meant he had to leave coaching the program he had for 11 years with a 247-126 record, four regional championships and zero losing seasons.
“It was a tough decision,” Bauer said. “Probably the ultimate factor in accepting the position was coming to terms with not being able to coach anymore. I was conflicted. It was the right decision for my family and myself.”