Kathy Litzau

Episode 101

4 JAN 2021

The Senior Associate Athletics Director at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, including serving as the sport administrator for men’s soccer, women’s basketball, and men’s & women’s swimming and diving, among other responsibilities.  Previously she spent 14 years as the head women’s volleyball coach at Milwaukee, where her teams compiled a remarkable 118-14 record in Horizon League play over her last ten seasons. In 2017 she was inducted into the Milwaukee Athletics Hall of Fame. Earlier in her career she was an assistant coach at three different universities, after having been a standout volleyball player at the University of Notre Dame.

Guest quotes:

(on what was helpful moving on to a public school after a Catholic elementary school) “The foundation, the base that was provided from the Catholic elementary, and then the religious programs that we attended, the CCD classes that we attended through my middle school years and my high school years.  But really, I would say the faith of my parents… They’re just incredible faith models for me and my brothers.”

“I was fortunate enough to have been recruited by quite a few schools and when I was finalizing my list of schools that I was going to visit, my dad pulled me aside and he asked if I would just do him one favor, and if I could please just visit Notre Dame.  And, I was raised in an Irish Catholic family and had never honestly visited campus… When I did go on the visit… I felt like I was home… I really felt… that I was being called to go to the University of Notre Dame.”

“I played because of the love for the sport and that’s what I try to tell young athletes; do it because you love it, not because you’re trying to get something.”

“The way Notre Dame is set up is, each of the dorms has a chapel… and that would be such a great night on a Sunday night, we would all come together and we would all have, we’d all be still busy in what we were doing — our studies, our jobs, our sports — but then in that moment to see all of my peers come together to pray, to thank God for what’s behind us, and to pray for what’s in front of us, and to just be in that moment together, it really was so fulfilling.”

“That calmingness, having that sense come over after hearing the gospel, and every week there’s something there that speaks to me that helps keep me focused.”

“I felt a calling to teach our confirmation classes… And then, I also wanted to use the talents that I had to assist our church, and they started sports for anybody that goes to the school or participates in the faith formation programs, kids could play on those sports teams.  So I thought with my background in the sport of volleyball, this is something that I, obviously, should step up and give back to the school.”

“One of my favorite memories at Notre Dame before a game was with our priest, to say the Hail Mary before every game.”

“My goal as a head coach was to always assist them through their experience as a student-athlete to grow as people, to be stronger as an individual, and to walk away – graduate after four years – being confident in who they are as a person and be ready to tackle anything that the world presents for them.  So, what I really tried to do as a coach, especially on the volleyball court, was prepare them for anything, so that when that adversity struck, they were ready for it in the sense that they knew that they could get through it.”

“As a parent to keep telling (her kids) you are unique, God has made you who you are, you have all the talents and abilities to be exactly who God wants you to be, and as a parent, kids will listen but half-listen because they’re looking to the outside world to give them affirmation.”

Related links:

Kathy’s bio on UWM website

Milwaukee Athletics Hall of Fame video on Kathy

(This episode contains a prayer from the National Catholic Coaches Association’s “The Leadership Papers,” although originally credited in there to The Coach’s Bible.)