A native of Naperville, Ill., Kim Tatro has been the winningest coach in Lawrence history. Since taking over the softball program in 1994, Lawrence has won three Midwest Conference (MWC) Championships (1997, 1998, 1999) and made two appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament (1998, 1999). Tatro has been named MWC Coach of the Year seven times (1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2011, 2013).
As a softball, basketball, and volleyball player at St Norbert College, Tatro was no slouch herself. She was a three-time All-MWC selection and also earned all-region honors in softball. Eventually, Tatro was inducted into the St. Norbert Hall of Fame in 1999 and then again in 2005 as part of the women’s Final Four basketball team. I wanted to see how this Lawrence and St Norbert legend really is outside of competition, so I caught up with her to ask some questions.
What do you feel the main difference is between athletics at St. Norbert and Lawrence?
I don’t know that there are many differences – it all depends on the program at each school that you are referring to. Clearly there are some programs at St. Norbert that have a long-standing tradition of success. At the same time, there are programs at Lawrence that are building that tradition. Winning breeds winning – there is an expectation to win. I believe that many of our programs at Lawrence have that same expectations and it’s all about building a culture where winning is an expectation. There is no question that we can have the same success at Lawrence if everyone is on the same page and we recruit the right people.
After achieving so much already at Lawrence, what goals do you have for yourself for the team?
It will always be about the team. We have tremendous people in our program. I think I’m most proud of the character that our team possesses. We have unselfish people who pull for each other. I’m proud of the team chemistry that we have had the last couple of years. It has had a huge impact on our success.
Do you have any superstitions/rituals before games?
We are very superstitious! It’s a lot of little things – high five the pitchers with the same hand – wearing clothes that we have had success with. Last year we had a late season run of wins and there was at least one player who didn’t wash her socks for almost 2 weeks because we kept winning. We are quirky that way, but when it works who can argue!
What has been your favorite moment as a Lawrence coach?
Wow – 21 years is a lot of time to pick a favorite moment. I guess my favorite part about coaching at Lawrence is all about the relationships. Winning is great, but some of the best moments have little to do with winning and everything to do with people.
What has been the most difficult moment so far in your time here?
The worst moment has not occurred – that day will occur when I’m done coaching at Lawrence. It will be a sad day for me.