Q&A: Catch­ing up with Cather­ine Lee

The Covington News - - SPORTS - SHA­KEEM HOL­LOWAY shol­loway@cov­news.com

Cather­ine Lee made his­tory on Tues­day, as she was the first soft­ball player to have her jersey (No.27) re­tired by East­side High School. We sat down with Lee for a few min­utes to talk about what it meant for her, life after col­lege and if she’d ever con­sider coach­ing.

The Cov­ing­ton News:

For you to come out here and get your jersey re­tired, from what I un­der­stand you’re the first soft­ball player (at East­side) to ever have a jersey re­tired. What does it mean to you?

Cather­ine Lee: It means so much. To be out here in front of so many of my friends and fam­ily, for­mer coaches and team­mates, it means a lot. Every­body’s been so sup­port­ive and very ex­cited. I kind of joke around. I told every­body that 27 wasn’t ac­tu­ally my orig­i­nal num­ber here at East­side. Pete Mat­tice, who was the coach be­fore coach [Heather] Wood, my ju­nior year – and every­body that I played with would ap­pre­ci­ate this – I was late to the bus to our first tour­na­ment. I was No. 12 be­cause that’s what Ed­die Perez was, he was a catcher for the Braves. He took my num­ber and gave it to an un­der­class-

men and gave me 27. And then I had some of the best years that I’ve ever had in high school, so I don’t think 27 did me wrong. It means a lot. CN: I un­der­stand you do color com­men­tary for Miz­zou, so what’s that like?

Lee: It’s so fun. First, they told me I was too col­or­ful for color com­men­tary, and then they re­al­ized our coach is very spe­cific – he has a very strate­gic way he plays the game. More than any other coach I’ve ever had, so I think they found some value in bring­ing in somebody who knew his sys­tem a lit­tle bit. And ev­ery now and then I get a pretty funny com­ment in there. So I think they liked me do­ing color. But I love it. It’s so much fun. As you know, the SEC just kicked off the ESPN SEC Net­work, so I’ll be able to do it a lit­tle bit with the SEC Net­work. That’s what I’m re­ally pumped about. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, but right now I’m hop­ing it goes well. I’m lis­ten­ing to a lot of base­ball so I can get the lingo down, but soft­ball is it’s own sport so we’ll see. CN: You’re also get­ting your doc­tor­ate, what are you get­ting it in? Lee: So I just started my doc­tor­ate, ac­tu­ally last Mon­day was my first day. I grad­u­ated. It’s been about a year since I haven’t been in school, so I’m shift­ing my mode a lit­tle bit. I’m work­ing full time and go­ing to school. So many peo­ple have done it be­fore me, and they’ve all said it was this hard, and I be­lieve them. I’ve been in it for a week right now, and I’m al­ready a lit­tle bit over­whelmed. I’m get­ting my doc­tor­ate in the ed­u­ca­tion coun­sel­ing psy­chol­ogy school. The idea be­hind get­ting my doc­tor­ate is just to have doors open for op­por­tu­ni­ties to kind of fur­ther my ca­reer in ath­let­ics. I love de­vel­op­ment and fundrais­ing. It’s so much fun. It’s per­fect for me. I get to talk all the time, which is my fa­vorite. Miz­zou has re­ally opened a lot of doors for me. Who knows where I would’ve been if I hadn’t of ever made it that far. I’m ex­cited for the op­por­tu­nity, and I’m look­ing for­ward to it. It’ll prob­a­bly take me about three years, so ask me in about a year how I feel about, and we’ll see. CN: What are your goals after grad­u­a­tion? Lee: I’d love to be an ath­letic ad­min­is­tra­tor some­where on some level. I love col­lege ath­let­ics. I have a big pas­sion for col­lege ath­let­ics. I’m grate­ful for the op­por­tu­ni­ties I had, for the op­por­tu­ni­ties it af­fords th­ese girls to be able to fur­ther their lives beyond just sports. Hope­fully, I can kind of do that for gen­er­a­tions be­hind me. CN: Could you ever see your­self coach­ing at any level? Lee: Yeah! I ac­tu­ally was a travel ball coach after I got done play­ing. I did that for a cou­ple years. I started coach­ing a group of girls and they were sopho­mores so I coached them for a cou­ple years. A lot of them made it to col­lege play, which I’m re­ally proud of them all for do­ing. It was fun. I never thought when I was a player, I would coach. I was al­ways very, ‘how am I go­ing to teach th­ese girls?’ I knew the game like the back of my hand, but still at the same time I was just very ner­vous about coach­ing some of th­ese girls. I love it. It’s a lot of fun, but I think that if I ever did coach it would be on the high school level. I don’t wanna put my fate in the hands of a bunch of 18- to 22-year-olds. Only be­cause I was one.

Sha­keem Hol­loway/The Cov­ing­ton News

Cather­ine Lee, for­mer Lady Ea­gles’ catcher, had her jersey re­tired by East­side on Tues­day be­fore the Lady Ea­gles run-ruled Grif­fin 8 - 0.

Sha­keem Hol­loway/The Cov­ing­ton News

The Lee fam­ily came out to support Cather­ine Lee at East­side High School, where her jersey (No. 27) was re­tired. Lee is the first East­side soft­ball player to have her jersey re­tired.

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